Aerospace Toolbox

Analyze and visualize aerospace vehicle motion using reference standards and models

Aerospace Toolbox provides standards-based tools and functions for analyzing the motion, mission, and environment of aerospace vehicles. It includes aerospace math operations, coordinate system and spatial transformations, and validated environment models for interpreting flight data. The toolbox also includes 2D and 3D visualization tools and standard cockpit instruments for observing vehicle motion.

For flight vehicles, you can import Data Compendium (DATCOM) files directly into MATLAB® to represent vehicle aerodynamics. The aerodynamics can be combined with reference parameters to define your aircraft configuration and dynamics for control design and flying qualities analysis.

Aerospace Toolbox lets you design and analyze scenarios consisting of satellites and ground stations. You can propagate satellite trajectories from orbital elements or two-line element sets, load in satellite and constellation ephemerides, perform mission analysis tasks such as line-of-sight access, and visualize the scenario as a ground track or globe.

Get Started:

Vehicle Motion Analysis

Analyze vehicle flight dynamics and motion in MATLAB using aerospace coordinate system transformations, flight parameters, and quaternion math.

Coordinate System Transformations

Use the coordinate system functions to standardize units across data describing flight dynamics and motion, transform spatial representations and coordinate systems, and describe the behavior of three- and six-degrees-of-motion bodies.

Example overlaying simulated and actual flight data.

Flight Parameters

Use functions to estimate aerodynamic flight parameters, such as airspeed, incidence and sideslip angles, Mach number, and relative pressure, density, and temperature ratios.

Example of performing best glide calculations.

Quaternion Math

Use built-in functions to calculate quaternion norm, modulus, natural logarithm, product, division, inverse, power, or exponential. Interpolate between two quaternions using linear, spherical-linear, or normalized-linear methods.

Creating the world’s first two-way laser optical link at Astrium.

Aircraft Controls and Stability Analysis

Use coefficients obtained from the Data Compendium (DATCOM) based on vehicle flight conditions and geometry to create fixed-wing aircraft objects, estimate aerodynamic stability and control characteristics, and perform numerical analysis.

Fixed-Wing Aircraft

By importing USAF Digital DATCOM files, you can create a fixed-wing aircraft object with custom states and perform linearization and static stability analysis in MATLAB.

Dynamic response of a fixed-wing aircraft with the expected response based on static stability analysis.


Import aerodynamic coefficients from static and dynamic analyses and transfer them into MATLAB as a cell array of structures containing information about a DATCOM output file.

Importing DATCOM files.

Small Satellite Mission Analysis

Model and visualize satellites in orbit and compute line-of-sight access with ground stations using the satelliteScenario object. Use solar system ephemeris data to calculate planetary position and velocity for a given Julian date.

Satellite Scenarios

Create satellite scenarios to model and visualize satellites and constellations and perform mission analysis, such as computing line-of-sight access with ground stations.

Visualizing a satellite scenario with 3D viewer.

Planetary Ephemerides

With Chebyshev coefficients obtained from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, you can use MATLAB to compute the position and velocity of solar system bodies relative to a specified center object for a given Julian date, as well as Earth nutation and Moon libration.

Estimate the analemma of the sun.

Environment Models

Use validated environment models to represent standard gravity and magnetic field profiles, to obtain atmospheric variables for a given altitude, and to implement the horizontal wind model of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.


Use validated environment models, including the COSPAR International Reference Atmosphere 1986, 1976 COESA, International Standard Atmosphere (ISA), Lapse Rate Atmosphere, and 2001 U.S. Naval Research Lab Exosphere, to represent the Earth’s atmosphere.

Supersonic wind tunnel example using the ISA model.

Gravity and Magnetic Fields

Calculate gravity and magnetic fields using standard models. Functions let you implement the Earth Geopotential Models, World Magnetic Models, and the International Geomagnetic Reference Field, including EGM2008, WMM2020, and IGRF13. You can also calculate height and undulations based on geoid data downloadable via the Add-On Explorer.

Example of geoid height for Earth geopotential model. 


Use the horizontal wind function to implement the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Horizontal Wind Model routine and calculate the meridional and zonal components of the wind for one or more sets of geophysical data.

Using the function atmoshwm to calculate the quiet horizontal wind model.

Flight Visualization

Visualize the motion of aerospace vehicles using standard cockpit flight instruments and the FlightGear flight simulator.

Flight Instruments

Use standard cockpit flight instruments in MATLAB to display navigation variables. Instruments include airspeed, climb rate, and exhaust gas temperature indicators, as well as an altimeter, artificial horizon, and turn coordinator.

Reviewing prerecorded flight test data or simulation data.

Flight Simulator Interface

The animation object for FlightGear lets you visualize flight data and vehicle motion in a three-dimensional environment.

Replaying flight data in FlightGear.