Propagation of Space Objects


  • Martin Lara Instituto de Ciência e Tecnologia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo – São José dos Campos/SP – Brazil
  • Rodolpho Vilhena de Moraes ICT e INPE
  • Diogo Merguizo Sanchez Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais – São José dos Campos/SP – Brazil.
  • Antonio Fernando Bertachini de Almeida Prado


Actual, important problems of space dynamics are related to the protection of the Earth and its close space environment. This includes the study of disposal strategies for artificial satellites, the real-time propagation of space catalogues of thousands of objects, the fast prediction of orbit evolution of fragmentation models, among others. Accurate predictions of orbit dynamics require the integration of complete force models, including both gravitational and non-gravitational effects. The most accurate integration is expected from numerical methods. However, in many cases, it is important to have available tools for the instant propagation of the orbit evolution, as opposite to precise ephemerides computation. These tools can be implemented with the help of modern perturbation methods, which, in addition to the mean element propagation, allow for the recovery of short-period effects to provide osculating elements.