Drag coefficient modeling for GRACE using direct simulation Monte Carlo

Piyush M. Mehta, Craig A. McLaughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The drag coefficient of a satellite in low Earth orbit is dependent on the gas-surface interactions, attitude, satellite geometry, spacecraft relative velocity, atmospheric composition, atmospheric temperature, and spacecraft surface properties. The Direct Simulation Monte Carlo code, DS3V, is used to develop a drag coefficient model for GRACE. The code is validated with the analytical solution for the drag coefficient of a flat plate, sphere, and cylinder and drag coefficients derived for GRACE using a flat plate model. The energy-accommodation model assumes diffuse gas-surface interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1281-1298
Number of pages18
JournalAdvances in the Astronautical Sciences
StatePublished - 2013
Event23rd AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, Spaceflight Mechanics 2013 - Kauai, HI, United States
Duration: Feb 10 2013Feb 14 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding was provided equally by the Department of Defense Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR) Grant FA9550-10-1-0038 administered by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and by the US Department of Energy through the Los Alamos National Laboratory/Laboratory Directed Research and Development program as part of the IMPACT (Integrated Modeling of Perturbations in Atmospheres for Conjunction Tracking) project. The authors would also like to thank Vivek Ram, graduate student at the University of Kansas, for his help with developing the high-fidelity GRACE CAD model.

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