Minimum radiative heat-load aerocapture guidance with attitude-kinematics constraints

E. M. Zucchelli, E. Mooij

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

2 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


To maximize the payload mass, an aerocapture trajectory should be flown in such a way that both the final ΔV and the total heat load are minimized. At very high velocities, the heating due to radiation of high temperature gases in the shock-layer exceeds the heat due to convection. For some aerocapture missions, such a heat load can be 15 times larger than the heat load due to convection. Thus, convective heat load may in some cases be neglected. It is analytically proven that radiative heat load is minimized by the same trajectory that Minimizes The Final Δ V: a bang-bang trajectory, with full lift-up, full lift-down commands. Next, a novel guidance that plans a bang-bang trajectory with constraints in the attitude kinematics is introduced. This allows for achieving an optimal trajectory with only one parameter to be tuned. For the case studied, values of ΔV as low as 100 m/s can be ensured for entry angles between -6° and -5° and a large spectrum of perturbations; with the same guidance, radiative heat load is reduced by up to 20% with respect to traditional aerocapture-guidance methods. Finally, a lateral guidance that makes use of information on the final inclination of the predicted trajectory is introduced. Such guidance allows for very high accuracy in the inclination requirements with only two reversals, and also requires only a single parameter to be tuned. Depending on the tuning, a maximum inclination error of less than 0.1° can be guaranteed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conferenc
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. (AIAA)
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-62410-526-5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
EventAIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, 2018 - Kissimmee, United States
Duration: 8 Jan 201812 Jan 2018


ConferenceAIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Minimum radiative heat-load aerocapture guidance with attitude-kinematics constraints'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this