Space Flight Mechanics

By Prof. Manoranjan Sinha   |   IIT Kharagpur
Learners enrolled: 1564
This course is designed to introduce orbital mechanics of satellite. The 
course will begin with central force motion and then proceed to the two- body and three-body dynamics under mutual gravitational acceleration. It will also introduce the concept of Lagrange Points and their stability. Moreover, the concept of general orbit perturbation will also be discussed. Earth as a non-spherical body and its effect on gravity will be elaborated. Preliminary orbit determination of the satellite will be discussed. Finally, orbit transfer will be elaborated.

Aerospace, Mechanical, Physics, Mathematics

Calculus of Multi-variables, Physics, Applied Mechanics

ISRO, DRDO, BOEING, and various private industries working on satellite
Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 12 weeks
Category :
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Flight Mechanics
Credit Points : 3
Level : Undergraduate/Postgraduate
Start Date : 25 Jul 2022
End Date : 14 Oct 2022
Enrollment Ends : 08 Aug 2022
Exam Date : 30 Oct 2022 IST

Note: This exam date is subjected to change based on seat availability. You can check final exam date on your hall ticket.

Page Visits

Course layout

Week 1:  Conic Section & Central Force motion
Week 2:  Two Body problem (equation of relative motion, integrals of the two body problem)
Week 3:  The Classical Orbital Elements (determination from burnout data and inverse problem of orbit determination)
Week 4:  Kepler’s Equation and Kepler’s Problem (orbit propagation)
Week 5:  Three Body/Restricted Three Body Problem (equation of motion)
Week 6:  Restricted Three Body Problem (Lagrange points and their stability)
Week 7:  General Perturbation Theory (variation of parameters)
Week 8:  General Perturbation Theory (variation of parameters)
Week 9:  Preliminary Orbit Determination (reference frames and methods of orbit determination)
Week 10: Orbit Transfer (Hohmann and Bielliptic)
Week 11: Orbit Transfer (patched conic section method, interplanetary transfer, flyby)
Week 12: Non-Coplanar Orbit Transfer (Interception and Rendezvous)

Books and references

  1. Curtis, Howard D., Orbital Mechanics for Engineers, Elsevier Press (Text Book)
  2. Vallado, David A., Fundamentals of Astrodynamics, Kluwer Academics Publishers, London
  3. Danby, J. M. A., Fundamentals of Celestial Mechanics, Willmann-Bell, Inc., Richmond, Virginia, USA.
  4. Roy, Archie E., The Foundation of Astrodynamics, The Macmillan Company, Collier Macmillan Limited, London.
  5. Battin, Richard, An Introduction to the Mathematics and Methods of Astrodynamics, AIAA Education Series, AIAA, New York.
  6. Wiesel, William E., Space Dynamics, Tata McGraw Hill Publishing Company Limited, New Delhi.
  7. Thomson, William T., Introduction to Space Dynamics, Dover Publication Inc., New York,
  8. Kaplan, Marshall H., Modern Spacecraft Dynamics and Control, John Wiley & Sons, New York.

Instructor bio

Prof. Manoranjan Sinha

IIT Kharagpur
Currently, I am a professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT Kharagpur and involved in research on satellite and aircraft dynamics and control and solved some intricate problem. I have worked on orbital mechanics and orbit determination of satellite extensively. I have taught the course space flight mechanics at IIT Kharagpur for more than 15 years.

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 30 October 2022 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Kharagpur .It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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