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MECH 580B4 - Trajectory and Performance

  • 3 credits

This class is designed to provide the skills necessary to contribute to the rapidly expanding launch vehicle industry. This class will overview of orbital mechanics theory, elements, and orbit regimes, investigate trajectory modeling physics and philosophy, and then implement the theories to design and optimize trajectories to six orbits over the course of the semester (LEO, GTO, Sun Synch, Molniya, GEO, and Interplanetary). Launch vehicle conceptual design and sizing will be used to create the vehicles modeled and investigation of optimal staging, ideal velocity and its use in margins and prediction of mission losses. A focus will be made, for each of the orbit regime trajectories, on technical analysis capabilities, controls and constraints modeling, parametric assessments, engineering judgement, and intuitive understanding. The course will discuss ascent design and the required systems mindset to integrate aero, thermal, loads, acceleration, and the numerous other constraints. Use of the NASA GSFC Generalized Mission Analysis Tool will be incorporated as a user-friendly trajectory simulation tool that allows building and optimizing sophisticated trajectories. Integration of MATLAB-Simulink modeling and Systems Tool Kit software into the course will allow efficient analytical and visual investigation while providing extensive insight into the trajectory design process.


MATH 340 (Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations Mathematics); Physics for Scientists and Engineers II