Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
David K. Geller
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.
Shuster, Simon P., "A Survey and Performance Analysis of Orbit Propagators for LEO, GEO, and Highly Elliptical Orbits" (2017). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 6510.
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