Optimal cooperative power-limited rendezvous with propellant constraints

Victoria Coverstone, John E. Prussing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Minimum-fuel cooperative rendezvous of two power-limited spacecraft is investigated. Both vehicles are active and provide thrust to complete the rendezvous. Total propellant consumption is minimized subject to propellant constraints. Two gravitational models are investigated: the Hill-Clohessy-Wiltshire linearized field and the two-body, inverse-square field. Analytical solutions are obtained for the linearized gravitational field. A numerical method using direct collocation with nonlinear programming is used for the nonlinear gravitational field. Numerical results are presented and compared for various efficiencies, as measured by spacecraft power-to-mass ratios. For vehicles having different efficiencies, an interesting paradox can occur. Due to a propellant constraint on the more efficient vehicle, the optimal solution can require the initially less efficient vehicle to provide the majority of the thrusting, leaving the initially more efficient vehicle with a surplus of propellant. An explanation of this paradox is provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-305
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Astronautical Sciences
Volume43
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

rendezvous
propellants
Propellants
vehicles
paradoxes
power limited spacecraft
gravitational fields
Spacecraft
propellant consumption
spacecraft
nonlinear programming
collocation
Nonlinear programming
mass ratios
thrust
numerical method
Numerical methods
propellant
vehicle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering

Cite this

Optimal cooperative power-limited rendezvous with propellant constraints. / Coverstone, Victoria; Prussing, John E.

In: Journal of the Astronautical Sciences, Vol. 43, No. 3, 01.07.1995, p. 289-305.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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