2.3. Mass Rate Model Set-up

Although propagating a body’s translational dynamics is the backbone of Tudat’s simulations, it is also possible to propagate a vehicle’s mass (either concurrently or separately). The manner in which the models that govern the ‘mass dynamics’, i.e. mass-rate models, are handled in the code is very similar to the acceleration models: a list of settings for the models is created by the user, which are then used to create the required objects. The list to be created by the user is:

std::map< std::string, std::vector< std::shared_ptr< MassRateModelSettings > > > massRateModelSettings;

where the map key denotes the body of which the mass-rate is to be computed.

class MassRateModelSettings

Base class for the mass rate model setup. Currently two mass rate models are available each with its own derived class described below.

class CustomMassRateModelSettings

Using this class, the user must provide a std::function< double( const double ) > function, i.e. a function returning a double, representing the mass-rate, and taking another double, representing time, as an input. The internal workings of this function are completely up to the user. If any help is required in setting up such a model please contact the Tudat support team.

class FromThrustMassModelSettings

Using this mass-rate model, the change in vehicle mass due to the expulsion of propellant is taken into account when propagating a vehicle’s dynamics. It retrieves the required data from a ThrustAcceleration object (set by ThrustAccelerationSettings), ensuring full consistency between the two. Two option are available when creating this type of mass-rate model:

  • Use all thrust forces acting on a single body, combined into a single mass-rate model. This will in most cases be the model of choice, as there is often no need to distinguish between thrust sources when computing the mass rate: only the total amount of propellant usage is relevant. This option is toggled by setting the useAllThrustModels input argument of the FromThrustMassModelSettings constructor to true.
  • Use a single thrust model, defined by a string-identifier. When creating a thrust model, a thrustOriginId input is provided to the ThrustMagnitudeSettings settings constructor. Only in the FromBodyThrustMagnitudeSettings derived class is this thrust origin id set to anything else than an empty string: it represents the engine name.