Development of a Numerical Tool For Orbit and Maneuver Design in Geocentric Orbit

  • Amna Adheem

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Recently, orbit maneuver design has gained a lot of interest within the space engineering and scientific community. However, development of numerical tool for geocentric orbit leads to an increased complexity when accounting for perturbations, specially due to the Earth's gravitational field and solar radiation pressure. The increase demand for accurate and precise orbit propagation to lower the cost of ground support are needed, where the ground support operations are non-negligible part of the cost of a mission. A precise orbit propagator is developed by numerically integrating a set of second order differential equations derived from a spacecraft's perturbed equation of motion. For the purpose of this work, simulations were implemented by applying perturbation models to evaluate the accurate performance of the propagator. The numerical integrator with adaptive Runge-Kutta 7(8) was selected because of the affordable stability, high accuracy, and computational efficiency. In this study a numerical tool for orbit and maneuver design is presented. Considering the perturbation models of the Earth gravitational field, luni-solar third-body perturbation, and solar radiation pressure. Analysis of simulation parameters are demonstrated with discussion and final results.
    Date of AwardMay 2020
    Original languageAmerican English


    • Orbit
    • Propagation
    • Numerical integration
    • Spherical Harmonics
    • Perturbations
    • Accuracy
    • Efficiency.

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