The computation of structures moving in central force fields generally requires long‐time integration including geometrically nonlinear behavior (large rotations) as such, e.g. satellite structures move for a long time. To achieve a numerically stable computation the energy momentum method which fulfills linear and angular momentum as well as energy conservation within the time step is chosen for the time integration. The focus in the contribution is on Hamiltonian systems. A formulation for the gravitational force in a central force field as external force on a rigid or flexible satellite is given. The presented formulation enables the computation of the exact spatial distribution of the gravitational forces acting on a structure using the FE‐discretization which is necessary to analyze, e.g. the orientation of a satellite in a gravitational field. The fulfillment of the conservation laws within the time step is proved. The necessity for considering the spatial distribution of the gravitational forces is discussed based on numerical examples.
Göttlicher, B. and Schweizerhof, K. (2004), "Stable analysis of long duration motions of FE‐discretized structures in central force fields", Engineering Computations, Vol. 21 No. 7, pp. 708-717. https://doi.org/10.1108/02644400410548350
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