Aero photo

Class Time/Days: 5:00-6:15 pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays; Class Room/Building: ECCR 131

Office Hours: tbd at ECOT 537.

Required Texts: Orbital Mechanics, John E. Prussing, Bruce A. Conway, Oxford University Press, 1993.

Recommended Reference: Fundamentals of Astrodynanics, Roger R. Bate, Donald D. Mueller, Jerry E. White, Dover Publications, Inc. New York, 1971.

Prerequisites: ASEN 3200, or PHYS 1110 and 1120 and calculus (MATH 1300 and 2300, or APPM 1350 and 1360).


Astronautics involves the study of manned and unmanned spaceflight. Orbit mechanics, often referred to as astrodynamics, is the branch of astronautics dealing with the motion of a spacecraft under the influence of gravitational forces, atmospheric drag, etc. In this course, we will first review the characteristics of the motion of a system of particles with focus on the two-body problem which is a good approximation for the motion of a low-Earth orbiter. Then emphasis will be shifted to orbit transfer, basic rocket dynamics, interplanetary mission analysis, and perturbation due to atmospheric drag and Earth oblateness. You may be asked to solve a problem with Satellite Tool Kit (STK) and verify the solution and/or use data generated by STK in a follow-on application.

Class Format

 Twice-weekly lectures.

 Weekly reading assignments.

 Weekly in class quizzes: reading and lecture. Reading quizzes are to test if students complete the reading assignments before the class. Lecture quizzes are to test if students understand the materials discussed in classes for the previous two weeks. Quizzes are to be completed individually. Any type of collaboration or copying on a quiz constitutes cheating and will result in a zero grade for the quiz. A repeated instance of cheating will result in an F for the course and will be reported to student Honor Code Office.

 Homework will be assigned every other week. No late homework will be accepted. Collaboration with others on homework is acceptable, but line-by-line copying of someone else's homework is cheating, and will result in a grade of zero for that assignment. A repeated instance of cheating will result in an F for the course and will be reported to student Honor Code Office.
Guidelines for preparation of out-of-class assignments

Assignment 1:    The Two-Body Problem (due: 1/31/2005)
Assignment 2:    Position in Orbit as a Function of Time (due: 2/9/2005)
Assignment 3:    The Orbit in Space (due: 2/28/2005)
Assignment 4:    Rocket Dynamics (due: 3/9/2005)
Assignment 5:    Impulsive Orbit Transfer (due: 3/21/2005)
Assignment 6:    Interplanetary Mission Analysis I (due: 4/13/2005)
Assignment 7:    Interplanetary Mission Analysis II (due: 4/27/2005)


Course Grading

Course grades are determined as follows:
 Homework: 25%
 Quizzes: 10%
 Exams: middle 30% and final 35%