Date of Award:

2017

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Advisor/Chair:

David K. Geller

Abstract

On-orbit targeting, guidance, and navigation relies on state vector propagation algorithms that must strike a balance between accuracy and computational efficiency. To better understand this balance, the relative position accuracy and computational requirements of numerical and analytical propagation methods are analyzed for a variety of orbits. For numerical propagation, several differential equation formulations (Cowell, Encke-time, Encke-beta, and Equinoctial Elements) are compared over a range of integration step sizes for a given set of perturbations and numerical integration methods. This comparison is repeated for two numerical integrators: a Runge-Kutta 4th order and a NLZD4/4. For analytical propagation, SGP4, which relies on mean orbital elements, is compared for element sets averaged with different amounts of orbit data.

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