Homotopy method for optimization of variable-specific-impulse low-thrust trajectories

Chi, Zhemin; Yang, Hongwei; Chen, Shiyu; Li, Junfeng
November 2017
Astrophysics & Space Science;Nov2017, Vol. 362 Issue 11, p1
Academic Journal
The homotopy method has been used as a useful tool in solving fuel-optimal trajectories with constant-specific-impulse low thrust. However, the specific impulse is often variable for many practical solar electric power-limited thrusters. This paper investigates the application of the homotopy method for optimization of variable-specific-impulse low-thrust trajectories. Difficulties arise when the two commonly-used homotopy functions are employed for trajectory optimization. The optimal power throttle level and the optimal specific impulse are coupled with the commonly-used quadratic and logarithmic homotopy functions. To overcome these difficulties, a modified logarithmic homotopy function is proposed to serve as a gateway for trajectory optimization, leading to decoupled expressions of both the optimal power throttle level and the optimal specific impulse. The homotopy method based on this homotopy function is proposed. Numerical simulations validate the feasibility and high efficiency of the proposed method.


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