A Massoptimized Gravity Tractor for Asteroid Deflection
Abstract
A method for asteroid deflection that makes use of a spacecraft moving back and forth on a segment of a Keplerian orbit about the asteroid is studied with the aim of optimizing the initial gross mass of the spacecraft. The corresponding optimization problem is formulated as a discrete nonlinear optimal control problem where the parameters of the orbit segment are the control variables. A hypothetical asteroid deflection problem is solved numerically using the method of dynamic programming, and it is shown that a gravity tractor can be obtained that is significantly more efficient in terms of deflection attained per unit mass of the spacecraft, compared to similar gravity tractors in the literature.
 Publication:

arXiv eprints
 Pub Date:
 October 2021
 arXiv:
 arXiv:2110.04631
 Bibcode:
 2021arXiv211004631K
 Keywords:

 Astrophysics  Earth and Planetary Astrophysics;
 Astrophysics  Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics;
 Physics  Space Physics
 EPrint:
 32 pages, 8 figures, submitted to the Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics