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G2: A follow-on to the Galileo mission

Filed under: Project-archive — mgrusin at 12:38 pm on Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Individual final project, Interplanetary Mission Design (ASEN 5519)

As a final project for the Interplanetary Mission Design course taught at the University of Colorado, I designed a mission to Jupiter.  This entailed choosing an appropriate gravity-assist course by evaluating planetary alignments over the mission time window for lowest (energy) cost and highest (velocity) return.  Once the transfer course was selected, a useful science orbit around Jupiter was chosen and targeted.  Finally, for extra credit, the transfer course was evaluated for possible asteroid encounters along the way.  Using a JPL database, the spacecraft was found to pass near four asteroids during its transfer to Jupiter, though additional maneuvering would be necessary to create close flyby encounters.

This project was particularly rewarding.  Before entering the course I had been fascinated by astrodynamics but nervous about the mathematics involved.  However, I was extremely gratified by the talent of the instructor (George Born) and his veritable army of TAs.  This project also got me deeper into Matlab and Satellite Tool Kit (STK) than I had ever been before.  STK turned out to be very useful in not only verifying Matlab results, but also in producing visualization which made this work much more understandable.

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