PSAS/ RocketScience

Rocket Science

See also: (mathematical notation)

In order to better understand how to build rockets, we should be reasonably familiar with the theory of rocketry. Presented here are the physics behind rockets and discussions on their motion both near the ground and in space.

  1. Rocket Science
    1. Launch Vehicle Dynamics
      1. Kinematics
      2. Aerodynamics
      3. Simulation
    2. Orbital Mechanics
      1. Kepler
      2. Orbital Perturbations
    3. Propulsion
    4. Coordinate Systems
      1. Geodesy
    5. Electronics
    6. Other sources

Launch Vehicle Dynamics



The Atmosphere


Orbital Mechanics


Orbital Perturbations


Coordinate Systems



Other sources

The MIT Open Courseware project has some good aerospace related course materials available online for free. Check these out:

NASA printed a series of papers called Guidance, Flight Mechanics, and Trajectory Optimization. This 17 volume report was used in the design of the Space Shuttle and many other programs designed for trajectory optimization. Here are all 17 volumes:

  1. Coordinate Systems and Time Measure
  2. Observation Theory and Sensors
  3. The Two Body Problem
  4. The Calculus of Variations
  5. State Determination and/or Estimation
  6. The N-Body Problem and Special Perturbation Techniques
  7. The Pontryagin Maximum Principle
  8. Boost Guidance Equations
  9. General Perturbations Theory
  10. Dynamic Programming
  11. Guidance Equations for Orbital Operations
  12. Relative Motion, Guidance Equations for Terminal Rendezvous
  13. Numerical Optimization Methods
  14. Entry Guidance Equations
  15. Application of Optimization Techniques
  16. Mission Constraints and Trajectory Interfaces
  17. Guidance System Performance Analysis