Ahmed Atallah wins john v. breakwell student travel award


Ahmed Atallah winning the John V. Breakwell Student Travel award

 Ahmed Atallah, Ph.D. Aerospace Engineering student in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program


Ahmed Atallah, a Ph.D. Aerospace Engineering student in the Joint Doctoral Program, has won the John V. Breakwell Student Travel Award from the American Astronautical Society (AAS) Space Flight Mechanics Committee. The award of $1,000 was in support of his travel to present his paper, “ Analytical Radial Adaptive Method for Spherical Harmonics Gravity Models,” at the 29th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, Ka'anapali, HI. This paper is co-authored with Atallah's advisor prof. Ahmad Bani Younes and in conjunction with Dr. Robyn Woollands (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and prof. John Junkins (Texas A&M University). 

Atallah's work has addressed the computational burden associated with high precision propagation for satellites orbiting a large body with a highly nonlinear gravity field (planets, moons, asteroids). An analytical adaptive method is introduced which adapts the spherical harmonic degree radially maintaining a specific accuracy solution for a satellite in elliptical orbits. The resulting algorithms “automatically know” about the rapid radial decay of the high-frequency terms in the gravity model to retain, as a function (mainly) of radial distance from geocenter. Addressing this issue enabled a much improved efficiency in high fidelity orbit propagations.