Kinematics: Describing the Motions of Spacecraft

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  • Introduction to Kinematics
    • This module covers particle kinematics. A special emphasis is placed on a frame-independent vectorial notation. The position velocity and acceleration of particles are derived using rotating frames utilizing the transport theorem.
  • Rigid Body Kinematics I
    • This module provides an overview of orientation descriptions of rigid bodies. The 3D heading is here described using either the direction cosine matrix (DCM) or the Euler angle sets. For each set the fundamental attitude addition and subtracts are discussed, as well as the differential kinematic equation which relates coordinate rates to the body angular velocity vector.
  • Rigid Body Kinematics II
    • This module covers modern attitude coordinate sets including Euler Parameters (quaternions), principal rotation parameters, Classical Rodrigues parameters, modified Rodrigues parameters, as well as stereographic orientation parameters. For each set the concepts of attitude addition and subtraction is developed, as well as mappings to other coordinate sets.
  • Static Attitude Determination
    • This module covers how to take an instantaneous set of observations (sun heading, magnetic field direction, star direction, etc.) and compute a corresponding 3D attitude measure. The attitude determination methods covered include the TRIAD method, Devenport's q-method, QUEST as well as OLAE. The benefits and computation challenges are reviewed for each algorithm.