Kinematics: Describing the Motions of Spacecraft

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The movement of bodies in space (like spacecraft, satellites, and space stations) must be predicted and controlled with precision in order to ensure safety and efficacy. Kinematics is a field that develops descriptions and predictions of the motion of these bodies in 3D space. This course in Kinematics covers four major topic areas: an introduction to particle kinematics, a deep dive into rigid body kinematics in two parts (starting with classic descriptions of motion using the directional cosine matrix and Euler angles, and concluding with a review of modern descriptors like quaternions and Classical and Modified Rodrigues parameters). The course ends with a look at static attitude determination, using modern algorithms to predict and execute relative orientations of bodies in space.

After this course, you will be able to...

* Differentiate a vector as seen by another rotating frame and derive frame dependent velocity and acceleration vectors
* Apply the Transport Theorem to solve kinematic particle problems and translate between various sets of attitude descriptions
* Add and subtract relative attitude descriptions and integrate those descriptions numerically to predict orientations over time
* Derive the fundamental attitude coordinate properties of rigid bodies and determine attitude from a series of heading measurements