Month: November 2014

Rocket Equation

The rocket equation describes the basic principles of a rocket in the absence of external forces.  Various forms of this equation relate the following fundamental parameters: engine thrust (), the engine specific impulse (), the engine exhaust velocity (), the initial mass

Posted in Orbital Mechanics, Programming Tagged with: , ,

Porkchop Plots

A porkchop plot is a data visualization tool used in interplanetary mission design which displays contours of various quantities as a function of departure and arrival date.  Example pork chop plots for 2016 Earth-Mars transfers are shown here.  The x-axis is the Earth departure

Posted in Orbital Mechanics Tagged with: , , ,

Complex Step Differentiation

Complex step differentiation is a method for estimating the derivative of a function  using the equation: Unlike finite-difference formulas, the complex-step formula does not suffer from roundoff errors due to subtraction, so a very small value of the step size can be

Posted in Algorithms Tagged with: , ,