Design of interplanetary trajectories with multiple synergetic gravitational assist maneuvers via particle swarm optimization

Matthew J. Shaw, Robert G. Melton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The design capacity for synergetic gravity assists (powered flyby’s) changes possible types of optimal interplanetary trajectories. The application of Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) is used to determine optimal mission trajectories from Earth to planets of interest, via synergetic gravity assist maneuvers. In order to verify the design results from PSO, past missions are re-examined from a new design perspective. Test results are obtained for Voyager 1, Voyager 2, and Cassini. The results closely resemble those of actual mission data, providing support for the new design method involving PSO and synergetic gravitational assists. The computation of these solutions offers the significant benefit of costing one to two minutes of wall-clock time with standard desktop or laptop computing systems. In addition to these past missions, the work then extends the design method to a newly proposed multiple gravity-assist (MGA) mission from Earth to Saturn that could take place within the next few years. The best solutions from PSO for the MGA routes are on the order of one half to one third the propellant cost as compared to the direct routes for the launch and arrival dates chosen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, 2018
EditorsPuneet Singla, Ryan M. Weisman, Belinda G. Marchand, Brandon A. Jones
PublisherUnivelt Inc.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780877036579
StatePublished - 2018
EventAAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, 2018 - Snowbird, United States
Duration: Aug 19 2018Aug 23 2018

Publication series

NameAdvances in the Astronautical Sciences
ISSN (Print)0065-3438


ConferenceAAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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