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

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of the course students will be able to: 

  • Understand and use the fundamental concepts of spacecraft rotational mechanics.
  • Develop analytical model and perform numerical simulations of spacecraft rotational mechanics problems.
  • Develop a software simulator for spacecraft rotational mechanics to be used in successive classes.
  • Acquire the fundamentals for other successive 3000 and 4000 level classes.
Offerings database access
Asset Publisher

Application Deadlines

  •  08 Jul 2024

    Fall Quarter applications due

Asset Publisher

Academic Calendar

No upcoming events.