Multiple Revolution Solutions for the Perturbed Lambert Problem using the Method of Particular Solutions and Picard Iteration

Robyn M. Woollands, Julie L. Read, Austin B. Probe, John L. Junkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a new method for solving the multiple revolution perturbed Lambert problem using the method of particular solutions and modified Chebyshev-Picard iteration. The method of particular solutions differs from the well-known Newton-shooting method in that integration of the state transition matrix (36 additional differential equations) is not required, and instead it makes use of a reference trajectory and a set of n particular solutions. Any numerical integrator can be used for solving two-point boundary problems with the method of particular solutions, however we show that using modified Chebyshev-Picard iteration affords an avenue for increased efficiency that is not available with other step-by-step integrators. We take advantage of the path approximation nature of modified Chebyshev-Picard iteration (nodes iteratively converge to fixed points in space) and utilize a variable fidelity force model for propagating the reference trajectory. Remarkably, we demonstrate that computing the particular solutions with only low fidelity function evaluations greatly increases the efficiency of the algorithm while maintaining machine precision accuracy. Our study reveals that solving the perturbed Lambert’s problem using the method of particular solutions with modified Chebyshev-Picard iteration is about an order of magnitude faster compared with the classical shooting method and a tenth-twelfth order Runge-Kutta integrator. It is well known that the solution to Lambert’s problem over multiple revolutions is not unique and to ensure that all possible solutions are considered we make use of a reliable preexisting Keplerian Lambert solver to warm start our perturbed algorithm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-378
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the Astronautical Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Lambert’s problem
  • Method of particular solutions
  • Perturbed Lambert’s problem
  • Picard-Chebyshev

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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