Aerospace Engineering Department
BS in Aerospace Engineering
The NASA Galileo mission was mapped out using a patched conics approximation. Galileo launched from Earth, underwent a gravity assist from Venus back to Earth for another gravity assist. Galileo then came back to Earth for one more gravity assist to propel it to Jupiter. A simulation ignoring all perturbations (i.e. third body effects, zonal (harmonics, solar wind, drag) was carried out. The simulation was able to make it to the ﬁnal Earth ﬂyby before diverging from the actual trajectory. The simulated and actual ﬂyby dates all differed by less than 5 hours, and the simulated and actual ﬂyby altitudes differed by less than 2,000 km.