Projectile Launchers & Ballistics

PASCO’s Projectile Launchers provide an exciting, hands-on method for students to experiment with projectile motion. Each of our affordable launchers is precision engineered to produce highly accurate and repeatable results with every launch. This page compares capabilities, size, and applications for our Projectile Launchers and Ballistics.

Projectile Launchers

The Launchers

PASCO offers two different projectile launchers. Our full-sized Projectile Launcher offers selectable ranges of 1.2, 3, or 5 m and launch angles from 0° to 90° and our Mini Launcher is great for table top experiments with ranges of 0.5, 1, and 2 m and the ability to fire it downward with launch angles from -45° to 90°.

The Projectile Launcher uses plastic balls while the Mini Launcher uses steel balls. Both include a loading rod, angle indicator, plumb bobs and a 2D collision accessory for studying conservation of momentum in two dimensions.

The Projectile Launcher is designed to be clamped to a lab table while the Mini Launcher can be clamped directly to a table or used with the optional mounting rod.

Save with the Projectile Launcher Smart Gate System — a complete package that includes our Mini Launcher, a Smart Gate and Projectile Mounting Bracket, a Table Clamp, and a Steel Mounting Rod.

The Photogate head can also be daisy chained to a Smart Gate.

Adding Measurement

Adding a photogate mounting bracket and our Smart Gate (a dual photogate) provides accurate measurements of the initial velocity of a projectile shot from one of our Launchers.

Want to measure the time-of-flight of the projectile? Our Time-of-Flight Accessory does exactly that. It connects to the Smart Gate allowing all the important parameters of the projectile’s flight to be measured.

Carbon paper is a tried and true method of marking where the ball hits the surface and determining the distance traveled.

Great Demos

Two ways of showing students the independence of x and y motion are the classic “Shoot-the-Target” or “Monkey and Hunter” demonstration as well as launching a projectile horizontally while simultaneously dropping another as our Drop Shoot Accessory allows you to do.

Shoot-The-Target is compatible with both the Projectile Launcher and Mini Launcher.

The Drop Shoot Accessory is compatible with the Projectile Launcher only.

Ballistic Pendulums

PASCO launchers can be used in ballistic pendulum experiments to investigate conservation of momentum and conservation of energy.

Our standalone Ballistic Pendulum is used with the Projectile Launcher. It is available by itself (No Launcher) or as a set that includes the Projectile Launcher.

The probeware option is to use our Ballistic Pendulum Accessory or Mini Launcher Ballistic Pendulum Accessory along with our Rotary Motion Sensor. This option requires a PASCO interface and PASCO software, either Capstone or SPARKvue.


Additional Resources

If you have additional questions regarding our equipment or software, contact PASCO Technical Support. We're here to help.