Discontinuous Low Thrust Orbit Transfer
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING
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This paper examines the use of discontinuous low thrust for orbital transfers between two non-coplanar, circular orbits. The vehicle is assumed to be a solar-powered, ion rocket that cannot operate when it is within the earths shadow. Two timescales are used to derive a minimum fuel trajectory. The fast timescale solution maximizes a change in inclination when given a change in semi-major axis for a single orbit. The slow timescale solution combines fast timescale results to obtain the minimum fuel trajectory. Results are presented for three specific transfers requiring varying amounts of shadow penetration. It is shown that the fuel penalty caused by discontinuous thrust is small. However, there can be a moderate increase in total trip time if the time within the shadow is large.
- Electric and Ion Propulsion