Gangestad, Joseph Astrodynamics Department, The Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, California.
Last reviewed:July 2019
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- Historical background
- Two-body problem
- Celestial coordinate systems
- Three- and N-body problems
- Application to space flight
- Post-Newtonian celestial mechanics
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The application of dynamical theory to the motion of celestial bodies, including planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and stars, influenced primarily by the force of gravity. Celestial mechanics has enabled humankind to describe with great precision the past, current, and future motions of bodies throughout and beyond the solar system (Fig. 1). The application of the principles of celestial mechanics to human-made, artificial satellites and crewed space vehicles is more commonly called astrodynamics. See also: Astronomy; Gravity; Motion; Satellite (astronomy); Satellite (spacecraft); Solar system; Space flight
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