Development of a Multipurpose Low Thrust Interplanetary Trajectory Calculation Code
Olds, John R.
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A multipurpose low thrust interplanetary trajectory calculation code has been developed. This code integrates the equations of motion along the trajectory assuming that the spacecraft is subject to a single attracting body and a constant thrust during both heliocentric and planetocentric phases. The histories of pitch and yaw angles for the heliocentric phase are calculated using the calculus of variations so that the spacecraft arrives at the destination planet with input heliocentric time of flight. For the planetocentric trajectory calculation, six equinoctial orbital elements are used in the vicinity of a planet with thrust direction fixed to be tangent to the path. For the heliocentric trajectory calculation, the components of position and velocity vectors are used. The output of the trajectory simulation is used as an input to mass estimating relationships that size the spacecraft. A VRML trajectory viewer helps to visualize how the spacecraft reaches its target.