Design and optimization of body-to-body impulsive trajectories in restricted four-body models
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Spacecraft trajectory optimization is a topic of crucial importance to space missions design. The less fuel required to accomplish the mission, the more payload that can be transported, and the higher the opportunity to lower the cost of the space mission. The objective is to find the optimal trajectory through space that will minimize the fuel used, and still achieve all mission constraints. Most space trajectories are designed using the simplified relative two-body problem as the base model. Using this patched conics approximation, however, constrains the solution space and fails to produce accurate initial guesses for trajectories in sensitive dynamics. This dissertation uses the Circular Restricted Three-Body Problem (CR3BP) as the base model for designing transfer trajectories in the Circular Restricted Four-Body Problem (CR4BP). The dynamical behavior of the CR3BP guides the search for useful low-energy trajectory arcs. Two distinct models of the CR4BP are considered in this research: the Concentric model, and the Bi-Circular model. Transfers are broken down into trajectory arcs in two separate CR3BPs and the stable and unstable manifold structures of both systems are utilized to produce low-energy transfer arcs that are later patched together to form the orbit-to-orbit transfer. The patched solution is then used as an initial guess in the CR4BP model. A vital contribution of this dissertation is the sequential process for initial guess generation for transfers in the CR4BP. The techniques discussed in this dissertation overcome many of the difficulties in the trajectory design process presented by the complicated dynamics of the CR4BP. Indirect optimization techniques are also used to derive the first order necessary conditions for optimality to assure the optimality of the transfers and determine whether additional impulses might further lower the total cost of the mission.