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Optimization Based Safe and Efficient Trajectory Planning in Proximity of an Asteroid

Published: 14 November 2021

Sumeet G. Satpute, Sina Sharif Mansouri, Per Bodin, George Nikolakopoulos

7th International Conference on Control, Decision and Information Technologies (CoDIT), 2020

This article focuses on a spacecraft trajectory planning algorithm that allows observation of multiple site locations on the asteroid surface, while avoiding any collision with debris objects trapped in the asteroid's gravity field. Asteroids provide a challenging target for satellite based visual coverage missions, since they are partially illuminated, rotating, irregular shaped celestial bodies with a low but also irregular gravity field. For addressing this problem, an optimization approach for visual coverage is proposed with an objective to determine the sequence of the imaging site locations and the associated safe and fuel efficient trajectories, while considering rotational dynamics of the asteroid, changing illumination condition for each site, irregular gravity constraints of the asteroid and the safe separation distance from the moving debris object. Numerical simulations are performed to demonstrate the ability of the trajectory planner to ensure successful optimal coverage of all the desired asteroid site locations.