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Optimal Low-Thrust Orbit Transfers Made Easy: A Direct Approach
Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets  (IF1.282),  Pub Date : 2021-07-20, DOI: 10.2514/1.a34949
Mirko Leomanni, Gianni Bianchini, Andrea Garulli, Renato Quartullo, Fabrizio Scortecci

The optimization of low-thrust, multirevolution orbit-transfer trajectories is often regarded as a difficult problem in modern astrodynamics. In this paper, a flexible and computationally efficient approach is presented for the optimization of low-thrust orbit transfers under eclipse constraints. The proposed approach leverages a new dynamic model of the orbital motion and a Lyapunov-based initial-guess generation scheme that is very easy to tune. A multi-objective, single-phase formulation of the optimal control problem is devised, which provides a convenient way to trade off fuel consumption and time of flight. A distinctive feature of such a formulation is that it requires no prior information about the structure of the optimal solution. Simulation results for two benchmark orbit-transfer scenarios indicate that minimum-time, minimum-fuel, and mixed time/fuel-optimal instances of the control problem can be readily solved via direct collocation, while incurring a significantly lower computational demand with respect to existing techniques.