Questions tagged [astrodynamics]

The study of satellite orbits and space flight dynamics.

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73 views

James Webb Space Telescope Velocity Loss Formula or how fast will JWST be going on L+26

I was never great at math but now I wish I would have taken it more seriously. We have an office bet going and I need to come up with a formula to figure out the future velocity the JWST. I was able ...
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ISS propagation becomes much more accurate with reduced drag. Any ideas why?

I have currently been testing my implementation of a numerical propagator with the ISS. Without going into much details, the propagator considers Earth gravity (with the GGM03S model including zonal, ...
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43 views

Please explain a way of calculation of Lagrange multiplier in algorithm of low thrust transfer

In David Vallado's book 'Fundamental of Astrodynamics and Applications', chapter 6.7. ("Continuous-Thrust Transfers") there is an algorithm #47: Low Thrust Transfer. In this algorithm a ...
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4answers
748 views

Why are uncertainties of orbital state vectors provided as covariance matrixes?

I have recently become interested in testing a numerical orbital propagator with ISS ephemerides, following @RyanC's suggestion in this answer. Ephemerides for the ISS seem to be publicly available in ...
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1answer
92 views

"Hohmann-Like" and Chemical / Electric Thrust Comparison

Part of the work I have to do for my degree is to perform a "Hohmann-like" transfer between Earth and Mercury, of which I believe I have accomplished. I have attempted numerous times to ...
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49 views

GMAT B-plane Transfer to Mercury

I have been fighting with GMAT for about 3 days now trying to get this transfer to converge so literally ANY assistance and advice would be greatly appreciated. I need to do a direct hohmann like ...
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51 views

How to perform a Hohmann-like transfer to mercury on GMAT

I am trying to simulate a Hohmann-like transfer from Earth to Mercury and establish an orbit there on GMAT. I have the following values already: launch velocity (22.25 km/s) Launch burn (-7.53 km/s) ...
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2answers
84 views

SPICE toolkit occultation finder doesn't work with spacecraft

I've to know if the sun is occulted by earth from my spacecraft which is in low earth orbit with these parameters (a:6700 km, e:0.0, i:5°, ...). I run the following method with search window start at ...
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79 views

What does it take to be an Astrodynamics Engineer?

Astrodynamics is really complicated and requires some incredible intuition for not just physics, but math and programming. Most job descriptions for Astrodynamics Engineer say something about a degree ...
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1answer
87 views

Pure orbit inclination changing, why delta v differs between vector and numerical approach?

as said in the title I have different results between numerical en vector approach during inclination changing maneuver. The initial orbit : Perigee radius : 6700 km Eccentricity : 0.7 Inclination : ...
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2answers
92 views

Does other orbital parameters change on plane alignment impulsive maneuver?

I work on small application to apply impulsive maneuver on an orbit. I want to align two orbits in the same plane. After the execution of the function, original orbit has the same inclination and ...
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1answer
45 views

Find the Orbital Inclination given all other Elements and a Position on the Ellipse

I'm in a situation where I need to determine an orbit's inclination. At my disposal I have all of the orbit's other Keplerian elements, and I have the vector of a single point on the ellipse. Is ...
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55 views

Do fins with slightly different masses but the same surface area affect the stability of a rocket?

Each of four fins of a rocket are of slightly different masses like( 0.204, 0.2, 0.199 and 0.19 kg). If they have the same surface area, will that severely affect the stability (spin) during flight? I ...
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76 views

How would you calculate the Delta-v needed to intersect a target on the ground on a sub-orbital trajectory?

Let's say I have a sub-orbital trajectory, meaning I'm going to crash into the earth at some point within the first orbital period. I know the true anomaly in which I will impact the surface and by ...
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1answer
116 views

How to calculate velocity vector in perifocal coordinates [closed]

Well the formula for it is here: Though if r is the radius and f is the true anomaly (which I assume is radians), then what is r dot and f dot respectively?
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1answer
87 views

How would you convert keplerian orbital elments into cartesain vectors with quaternions?

Coverting the keplerian elements to cartesain vectors ( posistion and velocity) is relatievly simple by using rotation matrices show in the document here: https://downloads.rene-schwarz.com/download/...
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1answer
123 views

Does a spaceship traveling to Mars from Earth via orbital skyhook still have to wait for a transfer window? [closed]

In order for it to make the three months travel time does it still have to wait for a transfer window or can it go at any time of the year?
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116 views

Difference between rotated frame and rotating frame

Suppose we have a spacecraft orbiting around Earth and we neglect all effects of Earth's $z$-axis motion, i.e., no wobble, precession, or nutation. For simplicity, we only assume a rotation rate $\...
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2answers
86 views

Where can one find the accelerations due to high-order terms of the geopotential model?

The expression for the orbital perturbation due to J2 ($\mathbf{a_{J2}} = [a_r \ a_s \ a_w]^T$) as well as its derived effect on the argument of perigee and the right ascension of the ascending node ...
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51 views

Hill approximation of the CRTBP (Circular Restricted Three-Body Problem) derivation

Dear fellow space enthusiasts, Let us first consider the classical CRTBP equations of motion by defining the position vector of the spacecraft \begin{equation} \boldsymbol{r}=[x,y,z]^{T}, \end{...
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41 views

Working out time spent by spacecraft above certain latitudes

I'm currently working through some practice exercises and one is about how many minutes per orbit a spacecraft spends above a certain latitude. How can this be calculated? I can't find any equations ...
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71 views

Using the Clohessy-Wiltshire equation, what would be the expression for ' r '?

I'm looking for an expression for r. The difficulty I'm facing is simplifying the C-W equation
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1answer
80 views

How can we express velocity of the Apollo mission relative to a moon-centered reference frame instead of an inertial reference frame?

I am really interested in the Apollo mission and I was wondering how fast did the astronaut pass by relative to the moon. I wanted to compare it with the speed of the car. I have been able to ...
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1answer
66 views

Does the short-angle solution of Lambert's Method break down for very Delta-V intensive maneuvers?

Just a (hopefully) quick qualitative question that I'm having a bit of trouble extracting from the literature: I've implemented a universal-variables Lambert's method in python, and it has been ...
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1answer
2k views

How to choose the best direction to leave Earth's sphere of influence?

What direction is optimal for spacecraft to leave Earth's sphere of influence (SOI) when it's going to an outer or inner planet? Let's presume that we have a spacecraft in a circular LEO (ecc=0.0). ...
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2answers
241 views

Is it more efficient to burn all needed fuel in an Oberth manoeuvre at once or burn a fraction of the fuel for each orbit?

I was looking into Parker Solar Probes trajectory and was wondering what would be the most optimal way to utilize a retrograde thrust at perihelion to reduce the number of needed gravity assists. I ...
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62 views

Apparent Centering Problem When Using the Perifocal System to Draw Orbital Ellipses

I am attempting to render orbital ellipses in software. Given a set of orbital elements, I am using the Perifocal system to determine a set of points along the curve of the ellipse. I am using the ...
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1answer
200 views

Does Kepler's Method for Determining Time of flight between two True Anomalies break down with eccentricities approaching 1?

Pretty simple question here. I'm calculating time of flight between two true anomalies by converting those true anomalies to mean anomalies and using the following equation: $\Delta t = t_2-t_1 = \...
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3answers
251 views

Speed at aphelion is decreasing for Parker Solar Probe with each new orbit despite being closer to the Sun

Sorry for the really bad picture I am looking at some data from the Parker Solar Probe mission and I was looking at the speeds of PSP at perihelion and aphelion at each new, different, orbit (the ...
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111 views

Fundamentals of Rendezvous and Proximity Operations

I am trying to work out how to calculate / model a rendezvous and proximity operation between two spacecraft. I have read several research papers, but none of them walk me through step by step how to ...
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81 views

Increase in period and semi-major axis following near head-on collision between Cerise and Ariane debris (1996)

This report describes the collision of the French satellite Cerise with a piece of Ariane rocket debris (object no. 18208) in 1996: http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-iarticle_query?...
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What is the relationship between the periapsis altitude and the change in velocity in a gravity assist?

In a gravity assist maneuver if I were to decrease the distance from the rocket to the periapsis of the planet it is orbiting (I believe this is called the periapsis altitude but I may be wrong) it ...
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159 views

Kepler prediction problem, fundamentals of astrodynamics

I needed help with problem 4.3 of Fundamentals of Astrodynamics by Roger R. Bate, Donald D. Mueller, Jerry E. White (dover, archive.org) Given that $r_0 = (I+j)$ and $v_0 = 2k$ find $r$ and $v$ for ...
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1answer
99 views

Determining orbital elements from r and v vectors - Fundamentals of Astrodynamics Example Problem

I am fighting my way through Fundamentals of Astrodynamics 1st edition for the fun of it. I have made it up to section 2.4 and have successfully completed all the example problems and chapter ...
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1answer
239 views

Why is there a singularity in Lambert solutions for transfers of pi-multiple degrees?

Lambert provides a solution as long as the transfer angle is not 0, 180 or 180-multiple degrees. Why is that?
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1answer
88 views

How can I generate Chebyshev cofficients from SPICE for J2000 Inertial to Moon ME Frame?

I want to extract the Chebyshev coefficients in order to be able to calculate the time-varying transformation from the ICRF / J2000 Inertial frame to the Moon ME (moon mean earth) frame. I know I can ...
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45 views

What ways can a University Student get involved in Trajectory Design?

As a physics student (not an engineer) in India, I can't seem to find a lot of opportunities to involve myself in what I find most appealing about what I'm studying in University i.e. astrodynamics. ...
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Differences between Semi Major Axes and ECF Magnitudes for Circular Orbits with J2 Perturbation

I have simulated (in STK) a satellite at near circular orbit, near-equator, with Brouwer Lyddane Mean Long SMA of 6935.31km, inclination 10 degrees, and eccentricity of 0.0001875 (these are solved-for ...
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2answers
10k views

Does the speed of ISS slow down at the time of a spacewalk or does it become stationary?

The International Space Station (ISS) is orbiting at nearly 7.66 km/s. At such high speeds, how do astronauts perform tasks outside the ISS? Or is it all relative like astronauts are having same speed ...
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1answer
382 views

Can we go anywhere in space with only THREE reaction wheels and ONE chemical thruster?

I had a discussion the other day with some of my peers and they were very keen on the fact the it is possible to change your orbit as desired using a single thruster and a three reaction wheels. The ...
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1answer
523 views

Why is FORTRAN recommended for astrodynamics rather than MATLAB?

I understand that FORTRAN might be faster in terms of computation time, but I don't understand why it is always recommended by people in the field. Everyone tends to avoid MATLAB for astrodynamics; is ...
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2answers
237 views

How big a nuke would be needed to break Phobos out of orbit?

Phobos Radius: 11.267 km Orbital period: 8 hours Equatorial rotation velocity: 11.0 km/h (6.8 mph) (at longest axis) With an 8 hour orbit around Mars it must be going at a fair clip already which ...
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161 views

Why haven't there been more space missions that use low-energy trajectories?

The Wikipedia article on low-energy transfers lists only 4 spacecraft over the past decades that at some point of the mission navigated low-energy trajectories, yet there has been extensive research ...
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1answer
229 views

What forces a spacecraft, returning from Earth orbit, to synchronize with Earth spin?

This seems like a banal question, but the more I think about it, the less I understand the mechanics of it. Does the progressively denser atmosphere pick up the spacecraft and carries it along the ...
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1answer
298 views

Launch vehicle trajectory tool for ascent phase to orbit using PYTHON

Currently, I am developing a trajectory optimization tool for launch vehicle from lift-off to orbit using python for my project. Since I'm new to optimization problem, I am finding it hard to ...
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3answers
553 views

Is the amount of accurate information in a TLE equal to that of a single state vector?

My question is basically regarding whether there is orbital information "lost" when converting from a Two Line Element set (TLE) to a state vector. Given that the following are true: I have a TLE, ...
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1answer
769 views

Converting UT1/UTC to Julian Date

I am reading about the algorithms to convert from date and time format to Julian Date from the Fundamentals of Astrodynamics and Applications by Vallado (4th Edition) p183. My question is ...
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0answers
104 views

Can we calculate elliptical properties in a spherical coordinate system?

Can we calculate the elliptical properties like the semi-major axis and eccentricity using the state vectors (position and velocity) in the spherical coordinate system? http://www.braeunig.us/space/...
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1answer
152 views

Trouble deriving rectangular components of acceleration of satellite in orbit around Earth with J2 consideration

I am trying to derive the rectangular components of acceleration for a satellite in orbit, with Earth oblateness in consideration, in order to use the RK4 method to find the updated position and ...
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2answers
111 views

Properly calculating G-factor

This may sound rather simple, but I was told that technically, G-force readout should actually indicate zero-G on the earth's surface, as well as in a stable orbit. This is due to the fact that G-...