A homotopic approach to solve the fuel optimal spacecraft proximity operations problem
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This report focuses on finding the low-thrust fuel optimal solution to a class of spacecraft proximity operations subject to path constraints. The mission is for a service spacecraft to perform a surveying orbit relative to a reference within a prescribed period, without violating a no fly zone represented by a sphere centered on the reference vehicle. Clohessy-Wiltshire equations are used, together with the controllability Gramian of the resulting linear system, to obtain an analytical solution to the energy optimal problem. A homotopic approach is subsequently shown to serve as an effective bridge from the energy optimal solution toward the fuel optimal solution.