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Course Detail

Course Name Space Flight Mechanics
Course Code 15AES460
Program B. Tech. in Aerospace Engineering
Year Taught 2019


Unit 1

Elements of Conics – The n-Body Problem and Reduction to Two-Body Problem – Types of Orbits – Conservation of Energy and Angular Momentum in Orbits – Spherical Trigonometry – Geocentric-Equatorial, Heliocentric-Ecliptic, Right Ascension Declination, Topocentric-Horizon and Perifocal Co-Ordinate Systems and Transformations Between Them – Classical Orbital Elements.

Unit 2

Orbital Elements Determination from Position and Velocity at a Point – Determining Position and Velocity from Orbital Elements – Orbit Determinations from a Single Radar Observation, Three Position Vectors and Optical Sightings – Ellipsoidal Earth Model: Geodetic and Geocentric Latitudes – Ground Trace of Satellites – Solar and Sidereal Times – Precession of The Equinoxes – Low and High Earth Orbits: Orbital Perturbations due to Oblateness of Earth – Orbital Maneuvers: General Coplanar Orbit Transfer, Hohmann Transfer, Simple Plane Changes to an Orbit.

Unit 3

Time-of Flight and Eccentric Anomalies for Elliptic, Parabolic And Hyperbolic Orbits – Kepler’s Problem and Solution Algorithm – Gauss Problem: General Methods of Solution – Intercept and Rendezvous with Examples – Ballistic Missile Trajectories: Effect of Earth Rotation – Interplanetary Trajectories: Spheres of Influence and the Patched Conic Approximation, Synodic Periods – Satellite Attitude Dynamics: Torque Free Motion, Stability of Torque Free Motion, Spin Stabilization, Gyroscopic Attitude Control, Gravity Gradient Attitude Control.

Text Books

  1. Roger R Bate, Donald D Mueller, Jerry E White and William W Saylor, “Fundamentals of Astrodynamics,” 2nd edition, Dover, 2015.
  2. Marshall H Kaplan, “Modern Spacecraft Dynamics and Control,” Wiley, 1976.


  • Howard Curtis, “Orbital Mechanics for Engineers and Scientists,” 3rd edition, Elsevier, 2010.
  • Marcel J. Sidi, “Spacecraft Dynamics and Control: A Practical Engineering Approach,” Cambridge University Press, 1997.

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