BS in Aerospace Engineering
Aerospace Engineering Department
Trajectories created with n-body orbit models were propagated in geocentric and interplanetary test cases. The n-body models were created in MATLAB® using numerical integration. In the geocentric test case, the n-body codes were compared to a two-body orbit model and to the default HPOP model used in Satellite Tool Kit®. The interplanetary test case compared the n-body model to the HORIZONS ephemeris data from JPL and an equation for ephemeris propagation. Both cases used the same initial positions and velocities and were propagated for the same duration. The results of the analysis showed that while n-body models are capable of creating complex orbits that two-body models cannot create, common perturbations such as drag and non-uniform gravity are still necessary to produce accurate trajectory models.