Orbital Mechanics for Engineering Students - 4th Edition - ISBN: 9780081021330

Orbital Mechanics for Engineering Students

4th Edition

Authors: Howard Curtis
Paperback ISBN: 9780081021330
Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
Published Date: 31st May 2019
Page Count: 814
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Table of Contents

1. Dynamics of Point Masses
2. The Two-Body Problem
3. Orbital Position as a Function of Time
4. Orbits in Three Dimensions
5. Preliminary Orbit Determination
6. Orbital Maneuvers
7. Relative Motion and Rendezvous
8. Interplanetary Trajectories
9. Lunar Trajectories
10. Introduction to Orbital Perturbations
11. Rigid Body Dynamics
12. Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics
13. Rocket Vehicle Dynamics

Appendix A Physical Data

Appendix B A Road Map

Appendix C Numerical Integration of the N-Body Equations of Motion

Appendix D MATLAB Scripts

Appendix E Gravitational Potential of a Sphere

Appendix F Computing the Difference Between Nearly Equal Numbers

Appendix G Direction Cosine Matrix in Terms of the Unit Quaternion


Orbital Mechanics for Engineering Students, Fourth Edition, is a key text for students of aerospace engineering. While this latest edition has been updated with new content and included sample problems, it also retains its teach-by-example approach that emphasizes analytical procedures, computer-implemented algorithms, and the most comprehensive support package available, including fully worked solutions, PPT lecture slides, and animations of selected topics. Highly illustrated and fully supported with downloadable MATLAB algorithms for project and practical work, this book provides all the tools needed to fully understand the subject.

Key Features

  • Provides a new chapter on the circular restricted 3-body problem, including low-energy trajectories
  • Presents the latest on interplanetary mission design, including non-Hohmann transfers and lunar missions
  • Includes new and revised examples and sample problems


Undergraduate students in aerospace, astronautical, mechanical engineering, and engineering physics; related professional aerospace and space engineering fields


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About the Authors

Howard Curtis Author

Professor Curtis is former professor and department chair of Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is a licensed professional engineer and is the author of two textbooks (Orbital Mechanics 3e, Elsevier 2013, and Fundamentals of Aircraft Structural Analysis, McGraw Hill 1997). His research specialties include continuum mechanics, structures, dynamics, and orbital mechanics.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor Emeritus, Aerospace Engineering, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida, USA