The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

A stochastic six-degree-of-freedom flight simulator for passively controlled high power rockets

Record type: Article

This paper presents a method for simulating the flight of a passively controlled rocket in six degrees of freedom, and the descent under parachute in three degrees of freedom, Also presented is a method for modelling the uncertainty in both the rocket dynamics and the atmospheric conditions using stochastic parameters and the Monte-Carlo method. Included within this we present a method for quantifying the uncertainty in the atmospheric conditions using historical atmospheric data. The core simulation algorithm is a numerical integration of the rocket's equations of motion using the Runge-Kutta-Fehlberg method. The position of the rocket's centre of mass is described using three dimensional Cartesian coordinates and the rocket's orientation is described using quaternions. Input parameters to the simulator are made stochastic by adding Gaussian noise. In the case of atmospheric parameters the variance of the noise is a function of altitude and noise at adjacent altitudes is correlated. The core simulation algorithm, with stochastic parameters, is run within a Monte Carlo wrapper to evaluate the overall uncertainty in the rocket's flight path. The results of a demonstration of the simulator, where it was used to predict the flight of real rocket, show the rocket landing within the 1 area predicted by the simulation. Also lateral acceleration during weather cocking, which was measured in the test, shows a strong correlation with simulated values.

PDF boxetal11 (2).pdf - Author's Original
Download (638kB)


Box, Simon, Bishop, Christopher M. and Hunt, Hugh (2011) A stochastic six-degree-of-freedom flight simulator for passively controlled high power rockets Journal of Aerospace Engineering, 24, (1), pp. 31-45. (doi:10.1061/(ASCE)AS.1943-5525.0000051).

More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 3 March 2010
Published date: January 2011
Keywords: Rocket, Stochastic, Simulation, Flight, Unguided, Machine learning, Monte Carlo, 6DOF, Parachute, HPR rocket, stochastic, simulation, flight, unguided, machine learning, monte carlo, 6dof, parachute, hpr
Organisations: Civil Engineering & the Environment


Local EPrints ID: 73938
ISSN: 0893-1321
PURE UUID: 5e4cca43-ea86-46d0-966c-11dd0b3145c5

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 11 Mar 2010
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 23:48

Export record



Author: Simon Box
Author: Christopher M. Bishop
Author: Hugh Hunt

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.