Automated solution of the low-thrust interplanetary trajectory problem

Jacob A. Englander, Bruce A. Conway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Preliminary design of low-thrust interplanetary missions is a highly complex process. The mission designer must choose discrete parameters, such as the number of flybys, the bodiesatwhich those flybys are performed, and in some cases, the final destination. In addition, a time history of control variables must be chosen that defines the trajectory. There are often many thousands, if not millions, of possible trajectories to be evaluated, which canbe a very expensive processin terms of the number of human analyst hours required. Anautomated approach is therefore very desirable. This work presents such anapproach byposing the mission design problem as ahybrid optimal control problem. The method is demonstrated on hypothetical missions to Mercury, the main asteroid belt, and Pluto.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Automated solution of the low-thrust interplanetary trajectory problem'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this