Survey of Global Optimization Methods for Low-Thrust, Multiple Asteroid Tour Missions
Braun, Robert D.
MetadataShow full item record
Electric propulsion has recently become a viable option for robotic missions, enabling shorter flight times, fewer required planetary gravity assists, smaller launch vehicles, and/or larger payloads. Trajectory design of these missions often relies on local optimization of the low-thrust trajectories using starting points for departure and arrival dates and selection of gravitational swing-bys based on previous experience. Global optimization of a low-thrust trajectory with multiple targets and gravity assists, however, is a difficult problem, due to the multi-modality and large size of the design space. In choosing analysis techniques, there exists an important tradeoff between the accuracy of the results and computing time required. This paper presents the difficulty of solving this global optimization problem, using the design of a multiple asteroid tour mission as an example. Furthermore, this paper presents an overview of the methods available for both low-thrust trajectory optimization and global optimization, along with recent improvements made, and assesses their efficacy and applicability to solving a multiple target/multiple gravity assist problem.