Courses of Study 2021-2022 
    Jun 23, 2024  
Courses of Study 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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MAE 4060 - Introduction to Spaceflight Mechanics

Fall. 3 credits. Letter grades only.

Prerequisite: MATH 2930 , MATH 2940 , MAE 2030 , or permission of instructor. Co-meets with MAE 5065 .

D. Savransky.

Introduction to spacecraft orbit mechanics, attitude dynamics, and the design and implementation of spaceflight maneuvers for satellites, probes, and rockets. Topics in celestial mechanics include orbital elements, types & uses of orbits, coordinate systems, Kepler’s equation, the restricted three-body problem, interplanetary trajectories, the rocket equation and staging, Clohessy-Wiltshire equations and relative formation flight, drag and orbital decay, and propulsive maneuvers. Topics in attitude dynamics include kinematics, Euler’s equations, stability of spinning spacecraft, attitude perturbations such as gravity-gradient and magnetic torques, equations of motion of rigid spacecraft with momentum actuators and thrusters, attitude maneuvers such as nutation control and reorientation, low-speed fluid behaviors, and elementary feedback control of linearized attitude and orbit dynamics. Principles of spacecraft propulsion technology and attitude-control technology are introduced along with the rocket equation and staging. The course includes discussions of current problems and trends in spacecraft operation and development.

Outcome 1: Students will be able to understand the fundamentals of spaceflight mechanics and how high-level mission requirements drive the design of orbits and attitude for contemporary spacecraft.

Outcome 2: Students will be able to understand the application of Kepler’s laws for orbital motion, how to propagate an orbit, and calculate parameters associated with mission operations, including launch, insertion, and interplanetary transfers.

Outcome 3: Students will be able to understand the application of Euler’s equations for rigid-body motion to spacecraft dynamics, attitude representations, attitude kinematics, how to predict and model spacecraft attitude motions, and how to achieve desirable attitude-dynamics behaviors.

Outcome 4: Students will be able to simulate a spacecraft in orbit using state of the art tools and identify and characterize the astrodynamics capabilities of a preliminary spacecraft design.

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