SS3500 Orbital Mechanics and Launch Systems

Provides a fundamental understanding of Orbital Mechanics through study of conic sections, coordinate systems, coordinate transformations, and time. Calculation of orbital elements of the two-body problem is covered. Other Orbital Mechanics topics include: Newton's laws, Kepler's equation, orbital perturbations, and orbital maneuvering, including rendezvous and proximity operations. Launch systems topics include: the rocket equation, single and multi-stage rockets, launch windows, launch profiles, ascent and payload delivery performance, and mission design. Supporting lab work utilizes the Satellite Tool Kit (STK) as an orbit analysis tool. The use of Excel and / or MATLAB for solving problems is encouraged. Prerequisites: college level algebra, geometry, trigonometry, logarithms and physics.

Lecture Hours


Lab Hours


Quarter Offered

  • As Required