Optimization for Low-Thrust Orbit Raising

Space Systems/Loral Mathematics, 2000-01

Liaison(s): Glenn Santiago
Advisor(s): Andrew Bernoff
Students(s): Tyson Macdonald (TL), Kylie Bryant (Fall), Matt Gedigian, Jay Trautman, Alex Wilkins

Space Systems/Loral is researching the use of ion propulsion to more efficiently raise newly launched satellites to their final orbits. However, as ion propulsion yields thrusts on the order of 1/1000 that of traditional chemical engines, the time of orbit transfer is significantly extended. Our goal is to develop a software package that will optimize (for time and fuel consumption) the use of low-thrust engines for satellite orbit raising.