Space transportation system and mission planning for regular interplanetary missions

Hao Chen, Hang Woon Lee, Koki Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper develops a computationally efficient and scalable mission planning optimization method for regular space transportation missions, defined as a set of repeating and periodic interplanetary transportation missions over a long time horizon after one or a few setup missions. As more long-term manned missions to Mars are being conceptualized, the need for a sustainable interplanetary transportation system has become increasingly prominent. However, planning regular transportation missions with existing space mission planning optimization formulations has a limitation in computational scalability in the time dimension. The proposed partially periodic time-expanded network can address this limitation of the past studies; it is shown to be computationally scalable and capable of generating solutions that are practically preferred. Properties of the proposed partially periodic time-expanded network are analyzed, and a case study reveals that the total initial mass in the low Earth orbit of regular missions approaches to the theoretical lower bound as the number of transportation missions increases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-20
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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