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Astrodynamics

Article Title

Optimal circle-to-rectilinear orbit transfer with circumferential thrust

Keywords

circumferential acceleration, rectilinear ellipse, optimal transfer, preliminary mission analysis, quasi-stationary condition

Abstract

This paper investigates the optimal transfer trajectories from a circular parking orbit towardsthe apocenter of a rectilinear ellipse, where the spacecraft reaches a quasi-stationary conditionrelative to an inertial reference frame. The spacecraft is equipped with a propulsion systemthat provides a circumferential continuous propulsive acceleration, that is, an accelerationwhose direction is perpendicular to the primary body-spacecraft line. The performance indexto minimize is the total flight time, and an indirect method is used to analyze the transfertrajectories. In this context, the optimal transfer performance is obtained as a functionof the spacecraft propulsive acceleration magnitude through an interpolation procedure ofnumerical simulations. The results obtained with a continuous thrust propulsion systemare also compared with those derived from a multi-impulse transfer. Finally, the paperinvestigates a heliocentric mission scenario in which the spacecraft minimizes the flight timerequired to reach a rectilinear ellipse with a given value of the aphelion radius.

Publisher

Tsinghua University Press

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