Cockrell School of Engineering

The University of Texas at Austin

Orbital Mechanics

orbital-landing-graceThis area involves study and research in the applications of celestial mechanics, analytical dynamics, geophysics, numerical analysis, optimization theory, estimation theory, mathematics, and computer technology to model the dynamic behavior of natural and artificial bodies in the solar system.

Research is supported by a large database of satellite measurements and a variety of computers, including a workstation cluster and a Cray high-performance computer. Two areas of interest are satellite applications and spacecraft design.

Satellite applications involve the study of active and passive satellite remote sensing for research in earth, ocean, atmospheric, and planetary science; satellite positioning, primarily using the Global Positioning System (GPS) for earth science research; and satellite tracking and instrumentation, including altimeters, for a variety of geophysical and geodetic studies, including the study of Earth's gravity field and rotation. Research is supported by a large database of satellite remote sensing measurements, a variety of computer workstations, GPS receivers, and image processing equipment.

Spacecraft design involves the application of all disciplines of aerospace engineering to the design of aerospace vehicles, missions, and related systems. Experimental facilities include a satellite laboratory containing high gain antenna satellite tracking station and a clean room area for fabrication and testing of space flight hardware. Research is primarily applied in nature and involves the synthesis of information from all engineering disciplines, mathematics, the natural sciences, economics, project management, and public policy.

Area Faculty

Area Coordinator: Russell, Ryan

Akella, Maruthi
Bettadpur, Srinivas V.

Fowler, Wallace

Humphreys, Todd
Russell, Ryan
Tapley, Byron
Watkins, Michael