Volume 540, April 2012
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Section||Numerical methods and codes|
|Published online||09 April 2012|
NIMASTEP: a software to modelize, study, and analyze the dynamics of various small objects orbiting specific bodies
University of Namur, NAXYS, Department of Mathematics, Rempart de la Vierge 8, 5000 Namur, Belgium
Received: 25 November 2011
Accepted: 27 February 2012
NIMASTEP is a dedicated numerical software developed by us, which allows one to integrate the osculating motion (using Cartesian coordinates) in a Newtonian approach of an object considered as a point-mass orbiting a homogeneous central body that rotates with a constant rate around its axis of smallest inertia. The code can be applied to objects such as particles, artificial or natural satellites, or space debris. The central body can be either any terrestrial planet of the solar system, any dwarf-planet, or even an asteroid. In addition, very many perturbations can be taken into account, such as the combined third-body attraction of the Sun, the Moon, or the planets, the direct solar radiation pressure (with the central body shadow), the non-homogeneous gravitational field caused by the non-sphericity of the central body, and even some thrust forces. The simulations were performed using different integration algorithms. Two additional tools were integrated in the software package; the indicator of chaos MEGNO and the frequency analysis NAFF. NIMASTEP is designed in a flexible modular style and allows one to (de)select very many options without compromising the performance. It also allows one to easily add other possibilities of use. The code has been validated through several tests such as comparisons with numerical integrations made with other softwares or with semi-analytical and analytical studies.
The various possibilities of NIMASTEP are described and explained and some tests of astrophysical interest are presented. At present, the code is proprietary but it will be released for use by the community in the near future. Information for contacting its authors and (in the near future) for obtaining the software are available on the web site http://www.fundp.ac.be/en/research/projects/page_view/10278201/
Key words: methods: numerical / gravitation / celestial mechanics / space vehicles
© ESO, 2012
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