Orbital Mechanics for Engineering Students

Orbital Mechanics for Engineering Students

Revised Reprint

4th Edition - August 31, 2020

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  • Author: Howard Curtis
  • eBook ISBN: 9780323853453
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128240250

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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

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

    A Physical Data
    B A Road Map
    C Numerical Integration of the N-Body Equations of Motion
    D MATLAB Scripts
    E Gravitational Potential of a Sphere 
    F Computing the Difference Between Nearly Equal Numbers
    G Direction Cosine Matrix in Terms of the Unit Quaternion

Product details

  • No. of pages: 780
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Butterworth-Heinemann 2020
  • Published: August 31, 2020
  • Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
  • eBook ISBN: 9780323853453
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128240250

About the Author

Howard Curtis

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

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