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# Orbit Mechanics

The Two-Body Problem
Energy Equation
Specific Momentum
Elliptical Orbit Geometry
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!ASA "mage

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The Two-Body Problem
Motion of a #pacecraft in the #olar #y#tem i# generally dominated by one central body
at a time\$
The tra%ectory of the #pacecraft relati&e to the central body 'Earth( #un( moon( etc\$)
repre#ent# a #olution to the two-body problem\$
A##umption# for the two-body problem include*
The motion of the #pacecraft i# go&erned by attraction to a #ingle central body\$
The ma## of the #pacecraft i# negligible compared to the central body\$
The bodie# are #pherically #ymmetric( with ma## concentrated at the center of each body\$
Only gra&itational force# act on the bodie#\$
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Circular Orbit
!ewton,# law of uni&er#al gra&itation #tate# that the gra&itational force between two
ma##e# i# in&er#ely proportional to the #quare of the di#tance beteen them\$
F=
mGM
r
2
r=distance between body centers
F=gravitational force
m=spacecraft mass
M=central body mass
G=6.67×10
−11
m
3
( kg)(s
2
)
-or a circular orbit to occur( the gra&itional force mu#t balance the centrifugal force
m
V
2
r
=
mG M
r
2
V =
.
G M
r
&elocity for circular orbit
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Gravitational Constants
"t i# con&enient to define a gra&itational con#tant a# the product of the central body
ma## and the uni&er#al con#tant\$
j=GM=gravitational constant
Mercury (/+\$0 .+1\$2
3enu# +.(454\$4 6/50\$4
Earth 398,600.4 6378.14
Mar# .(44\$+ ++12
7upiter 06(200(115\$. 20(.1
Saturn +2(1+1(501\$2 6/(64
8ranu# 5(24/(054\$5 5(551
!eptune 6(420(+/2\$4 .(26.
Moon .1/\$4 02+2\$.
Sun 0+(20(.+1(1+5\$5 616(///
j(km
3
/s
2
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Energy Equation
V =
.
2j
r

j
a
V =
.
j
r
circular 'a 9 r)
V =
.
2j
r
parabola: 'a 9 infinite)
V =
.
2j
r
+
j
a
ellip#e 'a ; /)
hyperbola 'a < /)
The energy equation gi&e# the &elocity of the #pacecraft at a gi&en di#tance from the
central body\$
V=velocity
a=orbit semima!or a"is
j=gravitational constant
:al#o determine# e#cape &elocity
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Parameters of an Ellitical Orbit
=ine of Ap#ide#
Apoap#i#
Periap#i#
General* Periap#i# Apoap#i#
Sun* Perihelion Aphelion
Earth* Perigee Apogee
Moon* Perilune Apolune
a c
r
a
r
p
b
0
r
V=velocity
a=semima!or a"is
b=semiminor a"is
c=distance to ellipse center
0=true anomaly
r
a
r
p
V
¸
2
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!ecific Momentum
The angular momentum per unit ma##( al#o called the #pecific momentum( i# related
to the flight path angle( orbit radiu#( and &elocity\$
H=r V cos ¸
H=specific momentum
V=velocity
¸=flig#t pat# angle
0=true anomaly
e=
.
1−
H
2
ja
e 9 / circle
e < 0 ellip#e
e 9 0 parabola
e ; 0 hyperbola
The #hape of the orbital tra%ectory i# determined by the eccentricity 'e) parameter\$
r
V
tan ¸=
1
r
dr
d 0
¸
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Ellitical Orbit Geometry
8#eful relation#hip# can be deri&ed from the orbit geometry\$
r=
r
p
(1+e)
1+e cos 0
=
a(1−e
2
)
1+e cos 0
cos 0=
r
p
(1+e)
r e

1
e
=
a(1−e
2
)
r e

1
e
true anomaly*
e=
r
a
−r
p
r
a
+r
p
=
r
a
a
−1=1−
r
p
a
eccentricity*
e=eccentricity
a=semima!or a"is
r
p
r
a
0=true anomaly
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More Ellitical Orbit Geometry
>et more u#eful relation#hip# can be deri&ed from the orbit geometry\$
tan ¸=
e sin0
1+e cos 0
flight path*
t=2n
.
a
3
j
period*
r
p
V
p
=r
a
V
a
#emima%or a?i#*
V
p
=velocity at periapsis
V
a
=velocity at apoapsis
a=
r
a
+r
p
2
=
r
p
1−e
=
r
a
1+e
&elocity*
e=eccentricity
a=semima!or a"is
r
p
r
a