Spacecraft Rotational Mechanics

Course #AE3815

Est.imated Completion Time: 3 months


Fundamentals of vector and tensor algebra. Rigid shape orientation and its parametrization, Euler's theorem, Direction Cosine Matrix and Rotation Matrix, Orientation Quaternion, Modified Rodriguez Parameters. Change of coordinates for vector and tensors. Rigid shape orientation differential kinematics, angular velocity, Darboux equation. Rigid body spacecraft rotational dynamics: angular momentum, inertia tensor and its transformations, Euler's rotational motion equations, solutions of the Euler's equation in significant cases, spin stabilization, energy-sink analysis. Modeling of environmental torque acting on an orbiting spacecraft: gravity gradient, aerodynamic torque, solar pressure torque. During the two hours per week of laboratory as well as the homework's the students build up sequentially a full software simulator of spacecraft rotational mechanics to be used in subsequent classes.

Included in degrees & certificates

  • 299


  • MA2121
Offerings database access
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Application Deadlines

  •  08 Jan 2024

    Spring Quarter applications due

  •  01 Apr 2024

    Summer Quarter applications due

  •  08 Jul 2024

    Fall Quarter applications due

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Academic Calendar

  •  12 Dec 2023 – 14 Dec 2023

    Fall Quarter final examinations

  •  15 Dec 2023

    Fall Quarter graduation

  •  18 Dec 2023 – 05 Jan 2024

    Winter break

See NPS Academic Calendar for more dates.