Orbital maneuver optimization using time-explicit power series

  • James D. Thorne
Open Access
Original Article


Orbital maneuver transfer time optimization is traditionally accomplished using direct numerical sampling to find the mission design with the lowest delta-v requirements. The availability of explicit time series solutions to the Lambert orbit determination problem allows for the total delta-v of a series of orbital maneuvers to be expressed as an algebraic function of only the individual transfer times. The delta-v function is then minimized for a series of maneuvers by finding the optimal transfer times for each orbital arc. Results are shown for the classical example of the Hohmann transfer, a noncoplanar transfer as well as an interplanetary fly-by mission to the asteroids Pallas and Juno.


Orbital maneuver optimization Lambert problem Orbital mission planning Thorne series solution of lambert problem 


Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.System Evaluation DivisionInstitute for Defense AnalysesAlexandriaUSA

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