Clohessy-Wiltshire equations

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The Clohessy-Wiltshire equations describe a simplified model of orbital relative motion, in which the target is in a circular orbit, and the chaser spacecraft is in an elliptical or circular orbit. This model gives a first-order approximation of the chaser's motion in a target-centered coordinate system. It is very useful in planning rendezvous of the chaser with the target.[1]

For intuition, in low earth orbit, and , so .


  1. ^ "Clohessy-Wiltshire equations" (PDF). University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved 12 September 2013.