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Re: Ballistic launch trajectory code

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg110512] Re: Ballistic launch trajectory code
  • From: Daniel Flatin <dflatin at>
  • Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2010 07:00:23 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <hvcdt9$5ii$> <hvevum$jn0$>

On 2010-06-18 01:24:38 -0400, Chris Pemberton said:

> On 06/17/2010 01:04 AM, Dan wrote:
>> I was wondering if anyone could point me toward a Mathematica based
>> code or a package, commercial or otherwise, that can compute a
>> ballistic launch trajectory. I am envisioning something that provides
>> position, velocity, and acceleration state vectors as a function of
>> time in an earth centered inertial frame. Ideally, this would make use
>> of a standard gravitational model such as the one used in SGP4. I have
>> ported SGP4 to Mathematica, and I would like to add this function to
>> my tool suite.
>> Thanks in advance,
>> Dan Flatin
> Darn it Kim Jong-il, is that you?  I told you _never_ contact the list
> members;  just lurk and learn.  Anyway, it's all in that thumb drive I
> sent you last summer; look in the "Family Vacation Pics" folder.
> Yours,
> V. Putin

Chris, that was hilarious! But for those of you who may not know, SGP4,
used by NORAD to maintain their satellite database, is a well
documented satellite trajectory propagation algorithm. Actually, it is
just one of a family of algorithms, all tuned to different
gravitational regimes. If you are interested, take a look at David
Vallado's Fundamentals of Astrodynamics and Applications. Code for SGP4
is available online in various languages (just not in Mathematica) at

Note that I am aware of STK (, but I am interested
in doing as much of the problem at hand from within Mathematica, and I
don't particularly like using black box software tools for this sort of

I am still finding my way around this topic. I sincerely appreciate all
the good responses I have received.


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