Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Kira Abercromby


This graduate project compares legacy simplified general perturbation model (SGP4) code developed by NASA Johnson Space Center, Orbital Debris Program Office, to a recent public release of SGP4 code by David Vallado. The legacy code is a subroutine in a larger program named PREDICT, which is used to predict the location of orbital debris in GEO. Direct comparison of the codes showed that the new code yields better results for GEO objects, which are more accurate by orders of magnitude (error in meters rather than kilometers). The public release of SGP4 also provides effective results for LEO and MEO objects on a short time scale. The public release code was debugged and modified to provide instant functionality to the Orbital Debris Program Office. Code is provided in an appendix to this paper along with an accompanying CD. A User’s Guide is presented in Chapter 7.

Thesis (2664 kB)
SGP4 Codes