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How to Add an Orbit State Type to GMAT

Wendy C. Shoan
Goddard Space Flight Center


GMAT provides the capability to model spacecraft orbits.  As of R2013a, there are six orbit state representations allowed in GMAT: Cartesian, Keplerian, Modified Keplerian, SphericalAZFPA, SphericalRADEC, and Equinoctial.  

This document will first give a brief overview of how GMAT handles these state types.  Then it will explain how to add a new orbit state type to GMAT.  Due to current design, new state types cannot be added by plugins and so GMAT base code must be modified.  The implementation of a new orbit state type will involve, at a high level:

  • Modifying the Spacecraft class to handle the new type
  • Adding conversions methods in StateConversionUtil
  • Adding new parameters to GMAT for the fields associated with your new state type
  • Modifying the Orbit tab of the Spacecraft panel 

State Type Overview

The user can set a spacecraft's orbital state in any of the above-mentioned representations, via the script or the Orbit tab of the Spacecraft panel.  

Adding a State Type 

Step 1: Modify Spacecraft.hpp

Step 2: Modify Spacecraft.cpp

Step 3: Modify StateConversionUtil

Step 4: Add the new parameters

Step 5: Update the Orbit Panel



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