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Publication Year

2014

Abstract

In a realistic model for rocket dynamics, in the presence of atmospheric drag and altitude-dependent gravity, the exact kinematic equation cannot be integrated in closed form; even when neglecting friction, the exact solution is a combination of elliptic functions of Jacobi type, which are not easy to use in a computational sense. This project provides a precise analysis of the various terms in the full equation (such as gravity, drag, and exhaust momentum), and the numerical ranges for which various approximations are accurate to within 1%. The analysis leads to optimal approximations expressed through elementary functions, which can be implemented for efficient flight prediction on simple computational devices, such as smartphone applications.

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Advisors:

Manoug Manougian, Mathematics and Statistics

Razvan Teodorescu, Physics

Problem Suggester:

Razvan Teodorescu