2008

Short- and Long-Term Propagation of Spacecraft Orbits

The Planetary Observer Planning Software (POPS) comprises four computer programs for use in designing orbits of spacecraft about planets. These programs are the Planetary Observer High Precision Orbit Propagator (POHOP), the Planetary Observer Long-Term Orbit Predictor (POLOP), the Planetary Observer Post Processor (POPP), and the Planetary Observer Plotting (POPLOT) program.

POHOP and POLOP integrate the equations of motion to propagate an initial set of classical orbit elements to a future epoch. POHOP models shortterm (one revolution) orbital motion; POLOP averages out the short-term behavior but requires far less processing time than do older programs that perform long-term orbit propagations.

POPP postprocesses the spacecraft ephemeris created by POHOP or POLOP (or optionally can use a lessaccurate internal ephemeris) to search for trajectory-related geometric events including, for example, rising or setting of a spacecraft as observed from a ground site. For each such event, POPP puts out such user-specified data as the time, elevation, and azimuth.

POPLOT is a graphics program that plots data generated by POPP. POPLOT can plot orbit ground tracks on a world map and can produce a variety of summaries and generic ordinate-vs.-abscissa plots of any POPP data.

This program was written by John C. Smith, Jr., Theodore Sweetser, Min-Kun Chung, Chen-Wan L. Yen, Ralph B. Roncoli, and Johnny H. Kwok of Caltech, and Mark A. Vincent of Raytheon for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-45418.

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