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.More »
A significant amount of analyst time is currently required to generate many-revolution spacecraft trajectories and often these solutions are numerically suboptimal. This research seeks to deliver a software product that alleviates a significant amount of the manual desgin burden placed on a trajectory design engineer allowing them to dedicate a larger portion of their time to analyzing results and ensuring that mission requirements are being satisfied. This software will be particularly useful for low-thrust spacecraft operating in orbit around a gravitating body and SmallSat applications that nearly always require an electric thruster propulsion module.More »
|Organizations Performing Work||Role||Type||Location|
|Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)||Lead Organization||NASA Center||Greenbelt, Maryland|
Work stopped on this IRAD in order for the PI and Co-I team to focus on other NASA priorities. A cross-platform build system was created and the software prototype was archived for potential future development.
The purpose of the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Internal Research and Development (IRAD) program is to support new technology development and to address scientific challenges. Each year, Principal Investigators (PIs) submit IRAD proposals and compete for funding for their development projects. Goddard’s IRAD program supports eight Lines of Business: Astrophysics; Communications and Navigation; Cross-Cutting Technology and Capabilities; Earth Science; Heliophysics; Planetary Science; Science Small Satellites Technology; and Suborbital Platforms and Range Services.
Task progress is evaluated twice a year at the Mid-term IRAD review and the end of the year. When the funding period has ended, the PIs compete again for IRAD funding or seek new sources of development and research funding, or agree to external partnerships and collaborations. In some cases, when the development work has reached the appropriate Technology Readiness Level (TRL) level, the product is integrated into an actual NASA mission or used to support other government agencies. The technology may also be licensed out to the industry.
The completion of a project does not necessarily indicate that the development work has stopped. The work could potentially continue in the future as a follow-on IRAD; or be used in collaboration or partnership with Academia, Industry, and other Government Agencies.
If you are interested in partnering with NASA, see the TechPort Partnerships documentation available on the TechPort Help tab. http://techport.nasa.gov/help