Using Orbiter Space Flight Simulator for IB Diploma Programme Internal Assessment/Extended Essay

Krishnan

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Hello friends.
It has been a long time since I last posted. Now I have started 11th grade in the IB Diploma Programme.
For my Physics Internal Assessment and the 4000 word, interdisciplinary extended-essay, I was wondering if I could use Orbiter to conduct research and write papers about.
Although I am very interested in space-flight trajectories, I only have a intermediate physics knowledge.
Is there any idea of how I can write my papers using Orbiter? Maybe Earth-Moon Transfers/Trajectories, since it connects to application in real life with future moon exploration.
Please share your ideas!
Thanks!
Krishnan
 

francisdrake

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I like it when Orbiter is used to analyze orbital mechanics. It is such a good and accurate tool!
For example John Sandford used it for his book Saturn Run to keep track of vessels in Solar and Saturn orbits.

But I am not sure if this would qualify Orbiter for scientific work. You should have a good understanding of what you are writing, then only use PC tools to support your concept.

Topics that come to my mind are:
- Orbital height loss and reboost of Low Earth Orbit Satellites
Orbiter has a pretty decent atmospheric model. The cutoff altitude is around 200 km, so stay below.
You could first calculate the Orbital gain through reboost theoretically by formula, then verify it in Orbiter.

- The Earth-Moon transfer you mentioned is quite advanced. You could try to duplicate the upcoming Artemis-1 mission in Orbiter, but to back it up with analytical calculations would be beyond my capabilities.

Also you should keep in mind, your lecturer(s) are not experts in any of these topics, and probably have never heard of Orbiter before. So do not overstress the use of the program. Explain shortly what this is, and why you choose it to support your work.
 

Krishnan

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I like it when Orbiter is used to analyze orbital mechanics. It is such a good and accurate tool!
For example John Sandford used it for his book Saturn Run to keep track of vessels in Solar and Saturn orbits.

But I am not sure if this would qualify Orbiter for scientific work. You should have a good understanding of what you are writing, then only use PC tools to support your concept.

Topics that come to my mind are:
- Orbital height loss and reboost of Low Earth Orbit Satellites
Orbiter has a pretty decent atmospheric model. The cutoff altitude is around 200 km, so stay below.
You could first calculate the Orbital gain through reboost theoretically by formula, then verify it in Orbiter.

- The Earth-Moon transfer you mentioned is quite advanced. You could try to duplicate the upcoming Artemis-1 mission in Orbiter, but to back it up with analytical calculations would be beyond my capabilities.

Also you should keep in mind, your lecturer(s) are not experts in any of these topics, and probably have never heard of Orbiter before. So do not overstress the use of the program. Explain shortly what this is, and why you choose it to support your work.
Thank you so much for your response!
Also, is Fundamentals of Astrodynamics a good book to read and learn the calculations/physics behind such orbital mechanics (including transfers)?
I saw the book being reccommended in Go Play in Space. Can a person like me read it? Is it appropriate for High-School level? I have taken precalculus, so I think I should be fine with the maths.


~Krishnan.
 

francisdrake

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Fundamentals of Astrodynamics (Bate, Mueller, White) is a good book. If you are interested in astrodynamics, you should consider buying it. Just saw a new edition (2019) is out.

But it is not a book for easy reading. You should be familiar with vector analysis, matrix operations and - for some chapters - differential equations. Still, you may want to buy it, finding applications for the fancy stuff your math teacher is telling you. :).

Also, because being written in 1972, there is no code, are no programming examples in it.

For school work you could more easily start with Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_mechanics

and then move on to public available papers, like
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/272507882_Fundamentals_of_Astrodynamics
(Just click "Download full-text pdf")
 
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