Analytical low-thrust transfer design based on velocity hodograph

D. J. Gondelach, R. Noomen

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


Shape-based models can be used to approximate low-thrust transfer orbits between celestial bodies. Here, a new model is proposed, which is based on simple analytical base functions that together represent the velocity of the spacecraft. After integration, these base functions also yield analytical expressions for distances traveled. As a result, both the velocity and the trajectory of a transfer can be modeled analytically with a series of such base functions, which can be chosen and scaled at will. Constraints (i.e. conditions on initial and final position and velocity) can be satisfied directly, and a constraint on the final polar angle can be met with a straightforward, fast numerical integration. The technique allows for direct solutions with no degrees of freedom, but also facilitates a more extensive analytical modeling where certain aspects of the resulting transfer trajectory (e.g. required ΔV, maximum acceleration) can be optimized. The main characteristics of the technique are illustrated in a number of cases: transfers to Mars and Mercury.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAstrodynamics 2015
EditorsJ.D. Turner, G.G. Wawrzyniak, W.T. Cerven, M. Majji
PublisherUnivelt Inc.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)978-087703629-6
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventAAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, ASC 2015 - Vail, United States
Duration: 9 Aug 201513 Aug 2015


ConferenceAAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, ASC 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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