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Aerodynamics of Baseball

What makes a curveball curve? What determines how far a batted ball will travel? How do weather conditions change the flight of a baseball? How does location determine if a field is a "hitters" or a "batters" park?

NASA Baseball

While NASA is known for rocket science and airplanes, we love to solve more down-to-earth problems too. Many of our researchers are big fans of America’s pastime, the game of baseball. They designed simulations to study and teach how airplanes and rockets’ aerodynamics have applied equations to baseball. When you factor in weather and location, you have the perfect tools to have fun learning about baseball! We’ve put these simulations online so you can “play ball.”

Anything that moves through air reacts to aerodynamics. It is the study of forces and the resulting motion of objects as they fly through the air, including kites and jet engines. Thanks to the Wright Brothers research and experimentation, today’s NASA engineers are involved in all aspects of research to solve new problems of flight.

Aerodynamics plays a significant role in many sports, such as golf, football, ski-jumping, and automobile racing. The activities on this page will help you to learn the effects of aerodynamics on baseball.

FUN FACT

During the World Series of 1995, astronauts orbiting the Earth on the Space Shuttle Columbia threw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 5 in Cleveland. You can learn more about this event here.

Physics of baseball.

The name of the game – simulations.

The simulations below will help you to learn more about factors that affect the aerodynamic forces on a baseball when it is pitched or hit by a batter. The easiest way to learn is just to start practicing.

Play Ball!

Curve Ball

curveball

Weight and drag effect the ball's flight.

Curve Ball Expert

curveball

Aerodynamics controls the conditions of a baseball pitch.

Hit Modeler

curveball

Aerodynamics controls the conditions of a batted baseball.

Hit Modeler Weather

curveball

Aerodynamics factors effects on a batted baseball.

Flight Calculator

curveball

Equations for flight.

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