In several papers on powered explicit guidance, I've come across the term "range angle." I'm familiar with inclination and azimuth angles, but range angle is new to me.

A quick search gave no clear answers to what this might mean. I know the info is out there, but it will take more digging than I can afford to do right now.

I know this term will be ring a bell to some of you experts out there, so I'm asking if you can clarify it for me?

  • $\begingroup$ Some context (a link to the paper and a page number) would be nice. $\endgroup$ Jan 23, 2021 at 20:57

1 Answer 1


Typically this is the angle subtended by the trajectory arc between two points. The angle is measured from the force center. For Earth trajectories, this is usually taken to be the center of Earth. However, to be technically correct, it is the barycentric point and not the geometric or geophysical centers of Earth.

For artificial projectiles (space launchers, ballistic missiles, satellites) the differences among these three points is minuscule since Earth's mass is far greater than any artificial projectile. These differences become important only for massive celestial bodies.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! This will do. $\endgroup$
    – user36480
    Jan 24, 2021 at 3:23

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