Optimum burn scheduling for low-thrust orbital transfers

R. G. Melton, K. M. Lajoie, J. W. Woodburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This paper describes a method for optimizing the point at which thrust should be initiated on each passage of a low-thrust, multiple finite-duration perigee-burn ascent trajectory, with the thrust vector always oriented perpendicular to nadir. The quantity being minimized is the rotation of the line of apsides. The semianalytic method developed here requires only a simple root-finding routine for the numerical portion of the solution. A perturbation solution (two-variable expansion) is used to model the flight path during the burn, yielding a “burn-on” position with a maximum error of approximately 2%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-18
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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