The Endeavor is the most recently used NASA space shuttle that has gone on multiple
missions outside the Earth’s atmosphere. Thought not currently in service, it’s visited the ISS,
International Space Station, on multiple occasions, docking for various lengths of time before
returning to Earth. When docked at the ISS, the Endeavor had the same orbital pattern as the ISS.
For our project we decided to model the Endeavor and map its orbital path when connected to
the ISS using the program Mathematica and techniques learned in Multivariable Calculus.
We used various shapes including ellipticals, cylinders, cones, and triangular prisms to
model the Endeavor and it’s orbit.
All pieces were assembled in Mathematica and modeled in Cartesian coordinates (x,y, z). To map The Endeavor’s orbital path when docked at the ISS, we used spherical coordinates (ρ,Φ,θ) to evaluate the path with respect to Earth’s Equator as the z=0 plane and the center of Earth as the point of origin. We recognise a normal orbital path is more elliptical than circular, however we focused on graphing circular functions in class. We decided it would make more sense to simplify the orbital path to circular to better utilise skills learned in class.