Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Kerry D. Hicks, PhD


This research effort develops a program using MATLAB to solve the equations of motion for atmospheric reentry and analyzes the validity of the program for use as a tool to expeditiously predict reentry profiles. The reentry vehicle is modeled as a point mass with constant aerodynamic properties as defined by the user. The equations of motion for reentry are based on the two-body problem. The atmosphere is modeled as a single layer exponentially decreasing in density. The MATLAB program has the ability to derive the initial trajectory conditions from the position and velocity relative to the rotating surface of the Earth, the Earth-centered inertial position and velocity, or the classic orbital elements. The program is compared to previously established programs in order to validate its accuracy and numerical stability when predicting various reentry profiles to include sub-orbital, super-circular and hyperbolic trajectories as well as wide ranges of aerodynamic properties.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number