A Rapid Target-Search Technique for KBO Exploration Trajectories

M. Benayas Penas, Kyle M. Hughes, Bruno V. Sarli , Donald H. Ellison , K.J. Cowan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

19 Downloads (Pure)


A rapid, grid-based, target-search algorithm is presented to find candidate se-quences of small-body encounters for mission design. The algorithm is especially relevant for cases with large combinatorial spaces. In this paper, the al-gorithm is used to identify candidate flyby sequences of multiple Kuiper-Belt Ob-jects (KBOs). Before reaching the first KBO in the sequence, the trajectories in this paper first use gravity assists at one or more of the giant planets to pump-uptheir orbital energy—reducing launch C3. The target-search algorithm consists offour sequential steps: (1) parameter definition, (2) fine-tuned Lambert-based gridsearch of ballistic trajectories visiting one KBO, (3) rapid, ∆V-based proximitysearch for additional KBOs using the state transition matrices (STMs), and (4) tra-jectory optimization of the most promising KBO sequences using the EvolutionaryMission Trajectory Generator (EMTG). The paper also defines an empirical-basedprocess to characterize the maximum step size for the target arrival dates in theLambert grid search. Lastly, a candidate mission to two KBOs is presented. Theresults indicate that the ∆V computed from the STM propagations is not repre-sentative of the final ∆V computed in EMTG; however, it does serve as a useful‘reachability’ metric to identify nearby KBOs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationproceedings of the 31st AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting
EditorsCarolin Frueh, Renato Zanetti
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event31st AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting - virtual meeting
Duration: 1 Feb 20214 Feb 2021
Conference number: 31


Conference31st AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting


Dive into the research topics of 'A Rapid Target-Search Technique for KBO Exploration Trajectories'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this