HSC Physics Study Guide Part 1 (Space Module)

Posted on February 23, 2017 by DJ Kim

HSC Physics Space module contains a variety of fundamental and interesting concepts ranging from gravitational field to Special Theory of Relativity. In Part 1 of the HSC Physics study guide, we highlight some of the fundamental concepts using a flowchart to simplify your conceptual understanding.

At Matrix, students are taught to structure their answers using flowcharts to simplify complex processes. Some of the flowcharts from the Matrix Year 12 Physics Theory Book are included in this article to help you write better scientific responses.


1. Gravitational Field

The gravitational field is a model used to explain the region of influence within which the gravitational force between any two objects with mass exists.

The flowchart below outlines the gravitational field phenomena.

HSC Physics Space Gravitational Field Flowchart

2. Weightlessness

“Weightlessness” occurs when there is no force of support on your body, when apparent weight is zero.

The flowchart explains why the astronauts in International Space Station (ISS) orbiting the Earth have no apparent weight.


HSC Physics Space Weightlessness Flowchart


3. Orbital Decay

Orbital decay refers to a process of losing altitude gradually as a space vehicle encounters friction due to atmosphere (atmospheric drag).

The process of orbital decay is outlined below.

HSC Physics Space Orbital Decay Process Flowchart



4. Heat Build-up

The decay of an orbit means that a satellite or spacecraft is losing energy and falling to orbits of lower altitude. During re-entry this process happens rapidly, so that a great deal of energy is converted to heat very quickly through a process known as heat build-up.

The flowchart outlines the process of heat build-up due to orbital decay.

HSC Physics Space Heat buildup Flowchart


5. g-Forces

g-force is a convenient way to express the contact force on an astronaut, in multiples of the force normally experienced on Earth (i.e. in multiples of their true weight)
The flowchart below explains why a spacecraft experiences g-force during re-entry.

HSC Physics Space g-forces reentry flowchart



6. Principle of Relativity

The Galilean Principle of Relativity is explained below.

HSC Physics Space Principle of relativity flowchart


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  • Revise the core topics in detail;
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