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1/13

AE1102 (Introduction to Aerospace II)


Space exercises
Please note: This document provides detailed solutions to the problems that are stated in the lecture slides
by prof. Ambrosius during course year 2010-2011. Since some problems were quite hard to solve without
any guidance, I created this document. Referenced page numbers in this document may change over the
years, due to changes that will be made by the lecturers. However, I expect the slides to remain in use for
several years.
Contents
Contents .............................................................................................................................................................. 1
Section 1: Orbital Mechanics ............................................................................................................................... 2
Questions from file: AE1102_space_slides_1-3.pdf ........................................................................................ 2
Page 29 ........................................................................................................................................................ 2
Page 33 ........................................................................................................................................................ 2
Page 34 ........................................................................................................................................................ 2
Questions from file: AE1102_space_slides_5-6.pdf ........................................................................................ 4
Page 14 ........................................................................................................................................................ 4
Page 15 ........................................................................................................................................................ 4
Page 35 ........................................................................................................................................................ 5
Page 59 ........................................................................................................................................................ 5
Questions from file: AE1102_space_slides_7-8.pdf ........................................................................................ 6
Page 13 ........................................................................................................................................................ 6
Page 14 ........................................................................................................................................................ 7
Page 22 ........................................................................................................................................................ 8
Page 33 ........................................................................................................................................................ 9
Page 34 ........................................................................................................................................................ 9
Section 2: Rocket motion and Launchers .......................................................................................................... 11
Questions from file: AE1102_space_slides_9-10.pdf .................................................................................... 11
Page 23 / 27 ............................................................................................................................................... 11
Page 28 ...................................................................................................................................................... 11
Page 45 ...................................................................................................................................................... 12
Page 46 ...................................................................................................................................................... 13


2/13

Section 1: Orbital Mechanics
Questions from file: AE1102_space_slides_1-3.pdf
Page 29
Compute the value of g0.
( )
( )
9
2
0 2 2 2
3
398601 10
9,80
6378 10 0
Earth
Earth
GM
g g ms
r
R h

= = = =
+
+

Compute the velocity of a satellite at 800 km altitude (Envisat).
( )
3 3 1 0
3
9,80
6378 10 7, 45 10
6378 800 10
orbit E
E orbit
g
V R ms
R h

= = =
+ +

Compute the velocity of the Moon around the Earth.
( )
3 3 1 0
3
9,80
6378 10 1, 01 10
6378 384000 10
orbit E
E orbit
g
V R ms
R h

= = =
+ +

Compute the orbital height of a geostationary satellite.
( ) ( )
( )
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
0
2 2 2 2
2 3
2 2 2 0 0 0
3
2 2
2
2
2 2
3 0 3
3
2 2
0
2 2
2
4
4 4
3678000 9, 80
357
23 60
87 10
4 4
56 60
orbi
E E
E E
E
E E
E E E E
E
t
E
E
E
E
R h R h g
T T R R h
R h
g T R g T R g
T R R h R h R h
R h
R g
h R
V g
R
R h
T
m
t t
t
t
t t
t t
+ +
= = = +
+
= + = + = +
+

= = =
+
+

Note: T is in seconds!
Page 33
What is the velocity of the payload at 90 degrees?
1
0, 005 79, 3 0, 4 V at ms

= = =
Page 34
Is the orbital velocity of a spacecraft dependent of its mass or not?
No, orbital velocity is a function of height:
0
orbit E
E orbit
g
V R
R h
=
+
.
What happens to a free-floating astronaut, when he swings a hammer and hits the nail?
The astronaut will experience a reaction force equal to the force that he exerts on the nail, causing him to
accelerate away from the nail according to F ma = .
3/13

What happens to a free-floating astronaut when he torques a bolt?
The astronaut will accelerate in a direction perpendicular to the wrench that he is using.
What is the motion of an object within the ISS if it remains untouched?
None with respect to the position of the ISS, in other words, equal to motion of the ISS itself.
Why is it possible to move heavy objects near the ISS with small force?
Because there is no gravity, the product mg is zero. In other words, objects have no weight.
Why is it possible to dock a 120 ton Space Shuttle with a 330 ton ISS?
I dont really get the question. Anyway, the weights are not relevant.

4/13

Questions from file: AE1102_space_slides_5-6.pdf
Page 14
Consider the Earth. What is the radial acceleration?
1. at sea surface
Note: this question is the same as the first question in this document!
( )
( )
9
2
0 2 2 2
3
398601 10
9,80
6378 10 0
Earth
Earth
GM
g g ms
r
R h

= = = =
+
+

2. for an earth-observation satellite at 800 km altitude
( )
( )
9
2
2 2 2
3 3
398601 10
7, 74
6378 10 800 10
E E
Earth
g ms
R
R h

= = = =
+
+

3. for a GPS satellite at 20200 km altitude
( )
( )
9
2
2 2 2
3 3
398601 10
0, 56
6378 10 20200 10
E E
Earth
g ms
R
R h

= = = =
+
+

4. for a geostationary satellite at 35800 km altitude
( )
( )
9
2
2 2 2
3 3
398601 10
0, 22
6378 10 35800 10
E E
Earth
g ms
R
R h

= = = =
+
+

Page 15
Consider the situation of the Earth, the Sun and a satellite somewhere on the line connecting the two main
bodies. Where is the point where the attracting forces of the Earth and the Sun, acting on the satellite, are in
equilibrium?
2 2 2 2
1 2 1 2
2 2
2 1
2 2
1 2
0
Earth sat sun sat Earth sun
Earth sun
Earth sun
m m m m
F F G G
r r r r
r r
r r



= = =

=


r 0 and r
2
= AU-r
1
:
( ) ( )
( ) { }
2
2 2 2 2
1 1
2
1 1
2
1 1 1
2
0 2 0
2 0 0
Earth sun Earth sun
sun Earth Earth Earth
AU r r AU r r r
r r ax U b A x c


= + =
+ = + + =

Solving gives one positive answer:
8
1
2, 58 10 r m =

5/13

Page 35
Consider an obsolete GEO satellite which is put into a graveyard orbit: 300 km above the standard GEO
altitude.
What is the orbital period of this graveyard orbit?
( ) ( )
300
42164,14 300
2 2 87085, 2
398600, 4415
geo
graveyard
Earth
h
T s t t

+
+
= = =
Note: Dimensional analysis:
| |
| |
| |
3
2
3
2
km
s s s
km
s
( = = =

(
(


87085, 2 24 11 25, 2 s h m s = + +
If this graveyard orbit were to develop from perfectly circular to eccentric, what would be the maximum
value of this eccentricitywhen the pericenter of this orbit were to touch the real GEO?
( )
( )
42164,14 300 42164,14
0, 003545
42164,14 300 42164,14
a p
a p
r r
e
r r
+
= = =
+ + +

Page 59
Consider a satellite at 800 km altitude above the Earths surface, with its velocity perpendicular to the
radius.
compute the escape velocity
2 2 2 398601
10, 538 /
6378 800
Earth
esc
p Earth
V km s
r r h

= = = =
+ +

if the satellite would have a velocity 0.2 km/s larger than the escape velocity,
what would the excess velocity V be?
2 2 2 2 2 2 2
10, 738 10, 538 2, 063 /
esc esc
V V V V V V km s

= + = = =
idem, if V=V
esc
+1.0?
2 2 2 2 2 2 2
11, 538 10, 538 4, 699 /
esc esc
V V V V V V km s

= + = = =

6/13

Questions from file: AE1102_space_slides_7-8.pdf
Page 13
1. How much V would be needed to transfer from a circular parking orbit at 185 km altitude to the
pericenter of an orbit with h
p
= 185 km and h
a
= 35822 km? The orbits are coplanar, i.e. within the same
plane.
Using the Vis Viva equation, we see that
2 1
2 1
V V V
r a r

| |
A = =
|
\ .

This gives
( ) ( )
( )
( ) ( ) ( )
1
2
1
2
2 1 2 1
2 1 398601
2, 4596 /
6378 185 6378 185 6378 185 6378 35822
E
E
E p E park
E p E a
E
V
r a r R h R h
R h R h
km s

| |
| |
|
A = = =
|
| + +
\ . + + +
\ .
| |
= |
|
+ + + + +
\ .

2. How much V would be needed to change the inclination of an orbit from 29.8 to 0, if both orbits are
circular and at an altitude of 35822 km?
Express V as a function of V and i:
( )
( ) ( )
1
2 1
2
1 1 1
2 2 2
sin
2
sin 2 sin
V
i
V V i V V i
A
A =
A = A A = A

Remember:
E
orbit
E orbit
V
a R h

= =
+

Substitute:
( ) ( )
1 1
2 2
398601
2 sin 2 sin 29,8 1, 581 /
6378 35822
E
E orbit
V i km s
R h

A = A = =
+ +

Note: You could also solve this problem using the cosine rule.
3. How much V would be needed to transfer from a circular parking orbit at 185 km altitude and with an
inclination of 29.8, to the pericenter of an orbit with h
p
= 185 km and h
a
= 35822 km, but with an
inclination of 0 (i.e. in a single, combined maneuver)?
Remember this picture:
7/13


( )
2 2 2
2 cos
combined i f i f
V V V VV i A = + A
2 2 2
2 cos c a b ab o = +
( )
2 2
2 cos
combined i f i f
V V V VV i A = + A
From the above formula, we see that well have to find the initial and final velocities:
( )
1
2
398601
7, 79324 /
6378 185
2 1 2 1
398601 10, 25284 /
6378 185 2 185 35822
E
i
E parking
f
E
V km s
R h
V km s
r a R

= = =
+ +
| |
| |
= = =
|
|
|
+ + +
\ .
\ .

Plug in:
( )
2 2
7, 79324 10, 25284 2 7, 79324 10, 25284cos 29,8 5, 2136 /
combined
V km s A = + =

Page 14
4. How much V would be needed to transfer from a circular parking orbit at 185 km altitude to the
pericenter of an orbit with h
p
= 185 km and h
a
= 35822 km? The orbits are coplanar, i.e. within the same
plane.
Equal to question 1.
The method for the other questions is exactly the same, and the answers are available in the slides.
8/13

Page 22
1. Compute the total V needed to go from a circular parking orbit at an altitude of 185 km to the
International Space Station, in a circular orbit at 350 km.
,
,
,
,
2
2 1
1
2 1
transfer p E
init transfer
E
parking
init
E
ISS
final
transfer
A transfer p parking
a E
final
B
B ISS tra
E
E
init transfe
tran
r i
sfer
nsfer a
nit
A
V
V
r a
V
r
V
r
V
r a
V
V V V
V V V
r a r
V
V

A =
A
A =
A = +
| |
=
|
|
\ .
=
=
| |
=
|
|
\ .
A

| |

|
\
=
|
.
A
( )
( )
2
1
2
1
2 1 398601
6378 185 2 6378 185 350 63
2 1
398601 2 1
6378 350 6378 350 2 6378 185
0, 09
35
615
78 1
0
/
85
E
E
final final transf r
E
E
e
r r a
km s

(
(
(

(
| |
(

|
|
+ + + +
(
| |
(

|
|
(
\ .

(
| |
(

|

+ =
|
+ + + + (
\
(
\ .

+
=

Question 2 to 4 are solved in a similar fashion.
5. End-of-life disposal: compute the total V needed to go from a circular operational orbit at an altitude
of 780 km to an elliptical orbit with pericenter at 200 km and apocenter at 780 km.
Note: from here on, Ill start writing delta V calculations as absolute value, so I dont have to pay attention to which
velocity I write down first.
( )
( )
,
,
1
2
1
2
2 1
2 1
2
2 1
398601
6378 780 2 6378 20
0,1
398601
63 0
59
7
2 /
8 7 780 0 8
disposal a
disposal a
E
E oper
operational
operation
ational E p a
al
E
E operational
V
V
r a
R h R h h
V
V
r
s
R
V
h
V
km


=
+
+
| |
=
|
\ .
| |
|
|
+ + +
\ .
| |

|
|
+ +
A =
A =
\ .
=

=

9/13

Page 33
Consider a Hohmann transfer from Earth (at 1 AU) to Jupiter (at 5.2 AU). What is:
1. the semi-major axis of the transfer orbit?
1 5, 2
3,1
2 2
sun Earth sun Jupiter
r r
a AU

+
+
= = =
2. the eccentricity of the transfer orbit?
5, 2 1
0, 6674
5, 2 1
a p
a p
r r
e
r r


= = =
+ +

3. the pericenter velocity in this transfer orbit?
11
6 6
2 1 2 1
1, 3271 10 38, 5751 /
149, 6 10 3,1 149, 6 10
p sun
V km s
r a

| | | |
= = =
| |

\ . \ .

4. the apocenter velocity in this transfer orbit?
11
6 6
2 1 2 1
1, 3271 10 7, 4183 /
5, 2 149, 6 10 3,1 149, 6 10
a sun
V km s
r a

| | | |
= = =
| |

\ . \ .

5. the travel time?
( )
3
6
3
11
3,1 149, 6 10
86126734
1, 3271 10
transfer
transfer
sun
a
T s t t


= = =

, which is approximately 997 days.


Page 34
Consider a transfer from Earth (at 1 AU) to Jupiter (at 5.2 AU). Assume the spacecraft leaves the Earth
orbit in a direction tangential to the orbit of the Earth itself, with an excess velocity V equal to 11 km/s.
(hint: this is not a Hohmann transfer orbit). What is:
1. the velocity of the Earth?
11
6
1, 3271 10
29, 7842 /
1 149, 6 10
sun
Earth
sun earth
V km s
r

= = =


2. the semi-major axis of the transfer orbit?
Note: remember the hint: this is not a Hohmann transfer orbit. Instead, well have to find the value of the semi-
major axis by modifying the vis viva equation:
( )
2
2
2
6 11
9
2 1 2 1 1 1
29, 7842 11 2 2
149, 6 10 1, 3271 10
1,1935 10 7, 98
V
V a
V r a r a
r
km AU

| |
= + = = = =
|
+
\ .


=

Note: the Earths velocity was added to the velocity of the spacecraft, which makes sense.
10/13

3. the eccentricity of the transfer orbit?
We know that the perihelion radius is 1 AU and we know the length of the semi-major axis. From this follows
the aphelion radius and thus the eccentricity:
( )
( )
2
2 7, 98 2
0,8747
2 7, 98 2
p p a p
a p p p
a r r r r
e
r r a r r


= = = =
+ +

4. the value for the true anomaly when the vehicle leaves the Earth vicinity?

0 u =
5. the value of when the vehicle arrives at the target planet?
We know that the distance to Jupiter measured from the sun equals 5.2 AU. Going back through the
material, we find Keplers first law:
( )
2
1
1 cos
a e
r
e u

=
+
. Were asked to calculate and weve already found
values for e, r and a. So here goes:
( )
( )
( )
2
2
2
1 1
7, 98 1 0,8747
1
1
1
1
5, 2
cos cos 136, 98
1 cos 0,8747
a e
a e
r
r
e e
u
u

| |
| |

|
|

|
|
= = = =
|
| +
|
|
|
\ .
\ .

6. the travel time?
See AE1102_space_slides_5-6.pdf, page 41-42 (and pages before for derivation). We have
( )
1 1
5, 2
1
1
7, 98
1 cos cos cos 1,1612
0,8747
r
a
r a e E E rad
e

| |
| |

|
|
= = = = |
|

|
|
|
\ .
\ .
, and
( )
( )
7
3
11
3
3
6
sin 1,1612 0,8747sin1,1612
sin 4, 0629 10
1, 3271 10
7, 98 149, 6 10
p p
E e E
E e E t t t t s
a
a


= = = =



or 470 days.

11/13

Section 2: Rocket motion and Launchers
Questions from file: AE1102_space_slides_9-10.pdf
Page 23 / 27
Consider a vehicle with dry mass (i.e. construction + payload mass) of 1000 kg, and 4000 kg of propellant.
The specific impulse is equal to 300 s, and the propellant mass flow is equal to 80 kg/s (and constant).
Questions:
1. What is the thrust?
To get ahead of any confusion: your file might mention a mass flow of 80 kg/s. It should be 50 kg/s.
We have
0 sp
w I g = and T mw = . Substitution yields
0
50 300 9,81 147
sp
T mI g kN = = =
2. What is the acceleration of the vehicle at the beginning of the thrust interval?
2
147150
29, 43
1000 4000
T
T ma a ms
m

= = = =
+

3. What is the acceleration of the vehicle at the end of the thrust interval?
2
147150
147,15
1000
T
T ma a ms
m

= = = =
4. What is the gain in velocity?
1
0
1000 4000
ln 300 9,81ln 4737
1000
sp
V I g ms

+ | |
A = A = =
|
\ .

Page 28
Consider a rocket with dry mass (i.e. construction + payload mass) of 1000 kg. It is to take the payload to
escape velocity, so V = 11.2 km/s. The specific impulse is equal to 300 s.
Questions:
1. How much propellant mass is required?
0
0
0 0
11200
300 9,81
ln ln 1 1
1 1000 1 43954
sp
sp
V
I g
dry propellant propellant propellant
sp sp
dry dry dry
V
I g
propellant dry
M M M M
V I g I g e
M M M
M M e e kg
| |
A
|
|
\ .
| |
A
| |
|
| |

\ . \ .
| | +
A = = + = +
|
|
\ .
(
(
(
= = = (
(
(



2. If the (constant) thrust were to be delivered over 2 minutes of time, what would be the thrust? What
would be the acceleration at burnout? What would be the acceleration at ignition?
Thrust:
0
0
43954
300 9,81 1, 078
120
sp
sp
F
m F mI g MN
I g
= = = =
12/13

6
2
6
2
1, 078 10
1078
1000
1, 078 10
23, 98
1000 43954
burnout
dry
ignition
dry propellant
F
a ms
M
F
a ms
M M

= = =

= = =
+ +

3. If the (constant) thrust were to be delivered over 8 minutes of time, what would be the thrust? What
would be the acceleration at burnout? What would be the acceleration at ignition?
Thrust:
0
0
43954
300 9,81 0, 2695
8 60
sp
sp
F
m F mI g MN
I g
= = = =


6
2
6
2
0, 2695 10
270
1000
0, 2695 10
6, 00
1000 43954
burnout
dry
ignition
dry propellant
F
a ms
M
F
a ms
M M

= = =

= = =
+ +

Page 45
Consider a lander hovering 10 m above the surface of the Moon, in search for a suitable landing spot.
Given:
moon
= 4906109 m
3
/s
2
, R
moon
= 173810
3
m; dry mass of vehicle (i.e. structure + payload) =500kg;
I
sp
=300s; g
0
=9.81m/s
2
.
Questions:
1. Compute the gravitational acceleration that the vehicle experiences.
See AE1102_space_Slides_1-3.pdf, page 27.
9
2
2 3
4906 10
1, 624
1738 10
moon
moon
g ms
r

= = =


2. Derive an equation for the propellant mass as a function of time.
I first read this question as Derive an equation for the propellant mass at a certain time. From the answer, I
noticed that the question should be interpreted as Derive an equation for the amount of propellant mass
that the lander has to have on board as a function of the total hovering time.
In a vacuum, the speed that the lander would have after time t would be V gt A = . Note that this is
independent of mass. Since we want V A to be zero, we can use Tsiolkovskys equation to find the amount
of propellant required.
0
0
0 0
ln ln 1 1
1
sp
sp
gt
I g
dry propellant propellant propellant
sp sp
dry dry dry
gt
I g
propellant dry
M M M M
gt I g I g e
M M M
M M e
| |
|
|
\ .
| |
|
|
\ .
| | | | +
= = + = +
| |
| |
\ . \ .
| |
|
=
|
\ .

3. Compute how much propellant would be needed for a maximum hover period of 1 second.
1,6241
300 9,81
500 1 0, 276 e kg
| |
|

\ .
| |
| =
|
\ .

13/13

The other two questions are solved in exactly the same way.
Page 46
See answers of page 45.


























By Tom Rijndorp, a.d.t.rijndorp@student.tudelft.nl. Year 2010-2011.