Article Title

Mars orbit insertion via ballistic capture and aerobraking


ballistic capture, aerobraking, Mars orbit insertion


A novel Mars orbit insertion strategy that combines ballistic capture and aerobraking is presented. Mars ballistic capture orbits that neglect the aerodynamics are first generated, and are distilled from properly computed stable and unstable sets by using a pre-established method. A small periapsis maneuver is implemented at the first close encounter to better submit a post-capture orbit to the aerobraking process. An ad-hoc patching point marks the transition from ballistic capture to aerobraking, from which an exponential model simulating the Martian atmosphere and a box-wing satellite configuration are considered. A series of apoapsis trim maneuvers are then computed by targeting a prescribed pericenter dynamic pressure. The aerobraking duration is then estimated using a simplified two-body model. Yaw angle tuning cancels the inclination deflections owing to out-of-plane perturbation from the Sun. A philosophy combining in-plane and out-of-plane dynamics is proposed to simultaneously achieve the required semi-major axis and inclination. Numerical simulations indicate that the developed method is more efficient in terms of the fuel consumption, insertion safety, and flexibility when compared with other state-of-the-art insertion strategies.


Tsinghua University Press