Title page for ETD etd-06222010-020301

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Halter, Ronald Vaughn
URN etd-06222010-020301
Title A universal time of flight equation for space mechanics
Degree Master of Science
Department Aerospace Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Lutze, Frederick H. Jr. Committee Chair
Cliff, Eugene M. Committee Member
Stalford, Harold L. Committee Member
  • Space trajectories
Date of Defense 1988-06-05
Availability restricted

A universal time of flight equation for any orbit is developed as a function of the initial and final radius, the change in true anomaly and the initial flight path angle. Lambert's theorem, a new corollary to this theorem, a trigonometric variable substitution and a continuing fraction expression are used in this development. The resulting equation is not explicitly dependent upon eccentricity and is determinate for -2n < (change in true anomaly) < 2n. A method to make the continuing fraction converge rapidly is evaluated using a top down algorithm. Finally, the accuracy of the universal time of flight equation is examined for a representative set of orbits including near parabolic and near rectilinear orbits.

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