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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Optimization of Low-Thrust, Many Revolution Trajectories Including Planetary Capture and Escape

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Calculating optimal spacecraft trajectories for spacecraft with low-thrust electric thrusters presents a unique computing challenge to the practitioner. If the spacecraft is operating in the vicinity of a large gravitating body, the former's trajectory can feature hundreds or thousands of revolutions in order to complete an orbital transfer. This research program will advance protoptype software capable of optimizing these compex trajectories, which can feature thousands of problem decision variables and constraints. The software will feature high-fidelity modeling of electric propulsion hardware and will be capable of computing optimal transfers in the presense of eclipse conditions.

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