Reachable sets for multiple asteroid sample return missions
Croley, Patrick A.
Ross, I. Michael
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In support of future NASA asteroid sample return missions, this thesis examines strategies to reduce the number of feasible asteroid targets. Reachable sets are defined in a reduced classical orbital element space. The boundary of this reduced space is obtained by extremizing a family of convex combinations of orbital elements. The resulting group of optimization problems is solved using a direct collocation pseudospectral technique by a MATLAB application package called DIDO. The reachable sets are examined to narrow the possible valid asteroid choices in order to aid in mission design and analysis of alternative targets. A solar electric propulsion system is modeled with the stay times at each asteroid, Earth departure, and Earth arrival hyperbolic excess velocities implemented as constrained optimization parameters.