First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Engineering
Course unit
INP5070432, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2018/19

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
IN2191, Degree course structure A.Y. 2017/18, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination COMPUTATIONAL ASTRODYNAMICS
Department of reference Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge STEFANO CASOTTO FIS/05

Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge Degree course code

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines FIS/05 Astronomy and Astrophysics 6.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 2nd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 48 102.0 No turn

Start of activities 02/03/2020
End of activities 12/06/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2017 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
1 Commissione Celestial Mechanics 19/20 01/10/2019 30/11/2020 CASOTTO STEFANO (Presidente)
D'ONOFRIO MAURO (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Students are expected to be familiar with Rational Mechanics and Mathematical Analysis, including the elementary theory of Ordinary Differential Equations.
A fair amount of curiosity about dynamical phenomena observed in the Solar and other planetary systems is useful, together with an interest in their precise modeling and computation and the design of exploration missions.
Target skills and knowledge: 1) Develop an understanding of dynamical phenomena in gravitating systems.
2) Application of Newtonian Mechanics to the solution of the fundamental problems of the Celestial Mechanics of natural bodies and artificial satellites.
3) Solution of Inverse Problems with applications to Orbit Determination.
4) Introduction to the design of orbits for planetary and interplanetary exploration.
5) Develop numerical computations in Matlab (or compiled languages), including the numerical integration of the equations of motion.
6) Learn how to use the General Mission Analysis Tool (GMAT).
Examination methods: Evaluation of the homework and final project report. Oral presentation of final report and discussion of the results and other topics covered during the lectures.
Assessment criteria: The knowledge of the topics discussed during the lectures, the use of the correct terminology, and the ability to connect different topics will be evaluated with:
1) Homework assignments (40% of the final mark).
2) Final project and presentation (30% of the final mark).
3) Final oral exam at the moment of the final project presentation (30% of the final mark).
Course unit contents: 1) The equations of motion of gravitating systems.
2) The Two-Body Problem and an initial value problem (IVP).
3) The Two-Body Problem and a boundary value problem (BVP).
4) Orbital maneuvers.
5) Space and time reference systems.
6) The computation of a Keplerian ephemeris.
7) Preliminary orbit determination.
8) Keplerian relative motion and its generalization.
9) Regularization and Universal Formulation of the Two-Body Problem.
10) The TBP as a boundary value problem (BVP) – Lambert targeting.
11) The Problem of Three Bodies and its homographic solutions.
12) The Circular Restricted Three-Body Problem – Jacobi’s integral, surfaces of zero velocity, Lagrangian points, Stability, Periodic orbits.
13) The theory of Patched Conics and the design of gravity-assist interplanetary trajectories.
14) Elements of perturbations and a the motion of an artificial Earth satellite.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Lectures, homework assignments, Matlab (Fortran, C++) code development, computer lab activities, special topic analysis during final project. Lectures are given in English.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Lecture notes of the teacher "S. Casotto, Lezioni di Meccanica Celeste". The list of suggested textbooks is given.
Testi di riferimento:

Danby, John M. Anthony, Fundamentals of celestial mechanics. Richmond (Va.): Willmann-Bell, 1988.
Roy, Archie Edmiston, Orbital motion. New York: London, Taylor & Francis, 2005.
Vallado, David A.; McClain, Wayne D., Fundamentals of astrodynamics and applications. Hawthorne: CA, Microcosm press, New York, Springer-Verlag, 2007.
Murray, Carl D.; Dermott, Stamòey F., Solar System Dynamics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Cordani, B., I cieli in una stanza. Una storia della Meccanica Celeste dagli epicicli di Tolomeo ai tori di Kologorov. Padova: Libreria Universitaria, 2016.
Curtis, Howard D., Orbital mechanics for engineering students. Amsterdam: Elsevier Butterworth Heinemann, 2013.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)