Robust global optimization of low-thrust, multiple-flyby trajectories

Donald H. Ellison, Jacob A. Englander, Bruce A. Conway

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


There are many challenging aspects of the design of multiple flyby, low-thrust trajectories. One of the most significant, from the point of view of a numerical optimizer, can be the characteristic time scale of the dynamical system. Trajectories in a setting with a short characteristic time scale (i.e. those occurring in the vicinity of Mercury or the Jovian moons) are more challenging to optimize than those with a longer time scale (i.e. trajectories to the outer solar system) because the spacecraft must often perform many revolutions about the central body as well as several flyby maneuvers. This paper introduces modifications that can be made to a multiple flyby trajectory optimizer employing the Sims-Flanagan transcription to improve its performance on challenging problems. These improvements include full specification of the problem Jacobian sparsity pattern and analytical expressions for many of its entries as well as refinements to how the problem constraints are scaled. The improvements are then quantified by solving two challenging problems: a Jovian moon rendezvous and a notional solar electric mission to Mercury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAstrodynamics 2013 - Advances in the Astronautical Sciences
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference
PublisherUnivelt Inc.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780877036050
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Event2013 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, Astrodynamics 2013 - Hilton Head Island, SC, United States
Duration: Aug 11 2013Aug 15 2013

Publication series

NameAdvances in the Astronautical Sciences
ISSN (Print)0065-3438


Other2013 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, Astrodynamics 2013
CountryUnited States
CityHilton Head Island, SC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Robust global optimization of low-thrust, multiple-flyby trajectories'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this