Fundamentals of Space Vehicle Guidance, Control, and Astrodynamics – Online Short Course 3 October - 21 November 2019

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SpaceVehicleGuidanceCourseRocketInstructed by Bong Wie, Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State University 

  • From 3 October–21 November 2019 (8 weeks)
  • Every Thursday at 1300-1500 Eastern Time (all sessions will be recorded and available for replay; course notes will be available for download)
  • This introductory course focuses on the physical principles and mathematical tools
  • Course will also include illustrative application examples, practice exercises, and supplemental material to enhance the learning experience
  • All students will receive an AIAA Certificate of Completion at the end of the course


This course presents a coherent treatment of the fundamental principles in guidance, control, and astrodynamics of space vehicles. It is intended for guidance, navigation & control (GNC) engineers and researchers, spacecraft systems engineers, space mission designers, technical managers, and/or graduate students, who are interested in a comprehensive introduction to the GNC and astrodynamical problems of spacecraft, launch vehicles, and robotic/human exploration of the moon, Mars, and asteroids. This course is based on the instructor’s second AIAA textbook Space Vehicle Guidance, Control, and Astrodynamics (2015),” with additional new materials on emerging GNC and astrodynamical topics.  (Textbook is optional reading, not required for course.)

What You Will Learn

  • Review the basic physical concepts and mathematical tools required for the analysis, design, and simulation of GNC subsystem or attitude and orbit control subsystem (AOCS) of space vehicles
  • Study  the fundamentals of classical orbital dynamics and modern computational astrodynamics
  • Explore the relationships and interface of three distinct, yet closely related, technical areas of guidance, control, and astrodynamics
  • Study various GNC/AOCS technologies required for the successful development of advanced space systems, launch vehicles, and complex space missions
  • Learn the fundamental principles of strapdown inertial navigation and guidance
  • Learn the basic physical principles of orbital intercept, rendezvous, and terminal impact guidance
  • Explore robotic/human Mars entry, descent, and landing (EDL) guidance technologies

Key Course Topics

  • Spacecraft Rotational Kinematics, Dynamics, and Control
  • Launch Vehicle Ascent Guidance and Flight Control 
  • Inertial Navigation and Guidance; Strapdown Inertial Navigation
  • PN (Proportional Navigation) Guidance and Its Variants
  • ZEM/ZEV (Zero-Effort-Miss/Zero-Effort-Velocity) Feedback Guidance and Its Variants
  • Orbital Intercept, Rendezvous, and Terminal Impact Guidance
  • Kepler’s Problem; Lambert’s Problem; Angles-Only Initial Orbit Determination (IOD) Problem
  • Circular and Elliptical Clohessy-Wiltshir-Hill (CWH) Relative Equations of Motion
  • Restricted Three-Body Problem; Lagrangian Points; Halo Orbit 
  • Close-Proximity Operation of Spacecraft around  an Irregular-Shaped Asteroid
  • Robotic/Human Mars Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) Guidance Technologies
  • See detailed outline

Who Should Attend

This course is intended for GNC/AOCS engineers and researchers, spacecraft systems engineers, graduate students, and/or technical managers, who want to enhance their understanding of the fundamental principles of space vehicle guidance, control, and astrodynamics. This introductory course focuses on the basic physical concepts and mathematical tools required for GNC/AOCS design, analysis, and simulation. (An advanced version of this course, which exploits computational optimization software tools, is to be offered in Fall 2020.)

Course Fees

Member Price: $845 USD 
Non-Member Price: $1,045 USD 
Student Member Price: $495 USD

Course Delivery and Materials

  • The course lectures will be delivered via Zoom.  You can test your connection here:
  • Access to the virtual classroom will be provided to registrants near to the course start date of 3 October 2019.
  • All sessions will be available on-demand within 1-2 days of the lecture. Once available, you can stream the replay video anytime, 24/7.
  • All Slides will be available for download after each lecture.  No part of these materials may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted, unless for course participants. All rights reserved.
  • Between lectures, the instructor will be available at for technical questions and comments.

Cancellation Policy

A refund less a $100.00 cancellation fee will be assessed for all cancellations made in writing prior to 14 days before the start of the event. After that time, no refunds will be provided.


Please contact Jason Cole or Customer Service if you have any questions.


Lecture 1 Spacecraft Kinematics, Dynamics, and Control (3 October)
1.1 Rotational Kinematics; Quaternions; Eigenaxis Rotation
1.2 Euler’s Rotational Equations of Motion
1.3 Quaternion Feedback Control for Large-Angle Maneuvers
1.4 Nonlinear Feedback Control with Slew Rate and Control Torque Constraints


Lecture 2 Launch Vehicle Guidance, Control, and Dynamics (10 October)
2.1 Introduction to Powered Ascent Guidance
2.2 6DOF Dynamical Modeling and Simulation
2.3 Ascent Flight Control Design Examples
2.4 Modeling and Control of Launch Vehicles with Structural Flexibility


Lecture 3 Principles of Inertial Navigation and Guidance (17 October)
3.1 Strapdown Inertial Navigation Equations
3.2 PN (Proportional Navigation) Guidance and Its Variants
3.3 ZEM/ZEV Feedback Guidance and Its Variants
3.4 Impact Time and Angle Guidance (ITAG) Problem of Missiles


Lecture 4 Fundamentals of Astrodynamics (24 October)
4.1 Classical Two-Body Orbital Dynamics
4.2 Kepler’s Time-of-Flight Equation
4.2 Clohessy-Wiltshir-Hill (CWH) Relative Equations of Motion
4.3 Restricted Three-Body Problem; Lagrangian Points; Halo Orbits


Lecture 5 Orbital Intercept, Rendezvous, and Terminal Guidance (31 October)
5.1 Orbital Transfer Guidance
5.2 Orbital Intercept Guidance
5.3 Orbital Rendezvous Guidance
5.4 Terminal Impact Guidance for Asteroid Defense Mission


Lecture 6 Computational Astrodynamics (7 November)
6.1 Lagrange’s f and g Functions
6.2 Kepler’s Problem and Its Solutions; Orbit Prediction
6.3 Lambert’s Problem and Its Solutions; Lambert Theorem; Lambert Guidance
6.4 Angles-Only Initial Orbit Determination (IOD) Problem and Its Solutions


Lecture 7 Close-Proximity Operation around an Irregular-Shaped Asteroid (14 November)
7.1 Gravitational Models of an Irregular-Shaped Asteroid
7.2 Close-Proximity Orbital Motions
7.3 Fuel-Efficient Close-Proximity Orbit Control
7.4 Asteroid Mission Examples


Lecture 8 Robotic/Human Mars Entry, Descent, and Landing (21 November)
8.1 Introduction to Robotic/Human Mars EDL Guidance Problem
8.2 Robotic Mars Powered Decent Landing Guidance Problem
8.3 New Multi-Phase ZEM/ZEV Feedback Guidance Strategies
8.4 Human Mars EDL Guidance Design Example


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BongWieBong Wie is Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State University. He holds a B.S. in aerospace engineering from Seoul National University and a M.S. and Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University. In 2006 he received AIAA’s Mechanics and Control of Flight Award for his innovative research on advanced control of complex spacecraft such as solar sails, large flexible structures, and agile imaging satellites equipped with control moment gyros. He is the author of two AIAA textbooks: “Space Vehicle Dynamics and Control (1998)” and “Space Vehicle Guidance, Control, and Astrodynamics(2015).” He has published 200 technical papers and 80 journal articles, and his Google Scholar h-index is 39. He has three US patents on singularity-avoidance steering logic of control moment gyros. During the past 10 years, he has been actively involved in guidance, control, and astrodynamics research for deflecting or disrupting hazardous near-Earth objects (NEO). From 2011-2014, he was a NIAC (NASA Advanced Innovative Concepts) Fellow for developing an innovative solution to NASA’s NEO impact threat mitigation grand challenge and its flight validation mission design. His NIAC study effort has resulted in two distinct concepts for effectively disrupting  hazardous asteroids with short warning time, called a hypervelocity asteroid intercept vehicle (HAIV) and a multiple kinetic-energy impactor vehicle (MKIV). His current research focuses on developing   robust multi-phase ZEM/ZEV feedback guidance strategies for robotic/human Mars precision powered descent & landing with hazard avoidance and retargeting.  He is also currently involved in missile guidance research for developing new practical solutions to the impact time and angle guidance (ITAG) problem of missiles. He is co-Editor of Astrodynamics, an international journal newly established in 2018.