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Universidade Lusófona do Porto

Space Mechanics


To enable students to apply physical and mathematical principles to several problems related to space flight, as well as to the design of models for study and determination of interplanetary trajectories.

To familiarize the students with the use of several tools to attain numerical solutions to the problems of Lambert and Kepler.


Science in Aerospace Engineering

Level of Qualification|Semesters|ECTS

| Semestral | 5

Year | Type of course unit | Language

2 |Mandatory |Português



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Professional Internship



Two-body problem

Orbital Elements

Orbital position as a function of time

Orbits in three dimensions

Orbital manoeuvres

Preliminary orbit determination

Interplanetary trajectories

Introduction to orbital perturbation

Introduction three-body problem


Introduce students to the basic principles of orbital mechanics and their application, orbital manoeuvring, orbit determination and interplanetary transfers, using analytical and numerical methods, and specific software. As well as present a brief introduction to orbital perturbations and the three-body problem.

Teaching methodologies and assessment

In theoretical lectures, the presentation of the different topics is aided by the analysis of examples. In the theoretical-practical lectures apart from the theoretical material, they will also be used for the resolution of exercises and to perform the assessment moments. Some of the time will also be devoted to the preparation of the computational project that will be part of the evaluation. The evaluation will be divided between two written tests (35% + 35%) and computational work (30%).

Individual and autonomous study outside the classroom environment is encouraged and considered fundamental. The web page of the course in the Moodle platform will be used to present the programmatic contents and pedagogical materials of support.


According to the ULP Assessment Regulations, the student will choose the evaluation regime: continuous or final.


  • Curtis, H., Orbital Mechanics for Engineering Students, third edition, 2013, Butterworth-Heinemann.
  • Vallado, D.A.,  Fundamentals of Astrodynamics and Applications, fourth edition, 2013, Microcosm Press.
  • Battin, R. H., An Introduction to the Mathematics and Methods of Astrodynamics, Revised Edition, 1999, AIAA Education Series

Office Hours

A combinar entre o docente e os alunos