Patched conic interplanetary trajectory design tool
Brennan, Martin James
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One of the most important aspects of preliminary interplanetary mission planning entails designing a trajectory that delivers a spacecraft to the required destinations and accomplishes all the objectives. The design tool described in this thesis allows an investigator to explore various interplanetary trajectories quickly and easily. The design tool employs the patched conic method to determine heliocentric and planetocentric trajectory information. An existing Lambert Targeting routine and other common algorithms are utilized in conjunction with the design tool’s specialized code to formulate an entire trajectory from Earth departure to arrival at the destination. The tool includes many options for the investigator to accurately configure the desired trajectory, including planetary gravity assists, deep space maneuvers, and various departure and arrival conditions. The trajectory design tool is coded in MATLAB, which provides access to three dimensional plotting options and user adaptability. The design tool also incorporates powerful MATLAB optimization functions that adjust trajectory characteristics to find a configuration that yields the minimum spacecraft propellant in the form of change in velocity.