Novel Approach on the Optimisation of Mid-Course Corrections Along Interplanetary Trajectories

Conference paper
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings book series (ASSSP, volume 44)


The primer vector theory, firstly proposed by Lawden, defines a set of necessary conditions to characterise whether an impulsive thrust trajectory is optimal with respect to propellant usage, within a two-body problem context. If the conditions are not satisfied, one or more potential intermediate impulses are performed along the transfer arc, in order to lower the overall cost. The method is based on the propagation of the state transition matrix and on the solution of a boundary value problem, which leads to a mathematical and computational complexity.In this paper, a different approach is introduced. It is based on a polar coordinates transformation of the primer vector which allows the decoupling between its in-plane and out-of-plane components. The out-of-plane component is solved analytically while for the in-plane ones a Hamiltonian approximation is made.The novel procedure reduces the mathematical complexity and the computational cost of Lawden’s problem and gives also a different perspective about the optimisation of a transfer trajectory.


Boundary Condition Prime Vector State Transition Matrix True Anomaly Transfer Orbit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research has been funded by the European Commission through the Marie Curie Initial Training Network PITN-GA-2011-289240, AstroNet-II The Astrodynamics Network.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Surrey Space CentreUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK
  2. 2.Department of MathematicsUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK
  3. 3.African Institute for Mathematical SciencesBagamoyoTanzania

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