Picture of smart phone in human hand

World leading smartphone and mobile technology research at Strathclyde...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including by Strathclyde researchers from the Department of Computer & Information Sciences involved in researching exciting new applications for mobile and smartphone technology. But the transformative application of mobile technologies is also the focus of research within disciplines as diverse as Electronic & Electrical Engineering, Marketing, Human Resource Management and Biomedical Enginering, among others.

Explore Strathclyde's Open Access research on smartphone technology now...

Low-thrust enabled highly non-Keplerian orbits in support of future Mars exploration

Macdonald, Malcolm and Mckay, Robert and Vasile, Massimiliano and Bosquillon de Frescheville, Francois and Biggs, James and McInnes, Colin (2011) Low-thrust enabled highly non-Keplerian orbits in support of future Mars exploration. Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics, 34 (5). pp. 1396-1411. ISSN 0731-5090

[img] PDF
Macdonald_M_Pure_Low_Thrust_Enabled_Highly_Non_Keplerian_Orbits_in_Support_of_Future_Mars_Exploration_08_Apr_2011.pdf - Preprint

Download (2MB)


The technology of high specific impulse propulsion systems with low thrust is improving, opening up numerous possibilities for future missions applying continuous thrust to force a spacecraft out of a natural Keplerian orbit into a displaced non-Keplerian orbit. A systematic analysis is presented as to the applicability of highly non-Keplerian orbits throughout the Solar System. Thereafter, two applications of such orbits in support of future high-value asset exploration of Mars are detailed: a novel concept for an Earth-Mars interplanetary communications relay, on which the paper largely focuses, and a solar storm warning mission. In the former the relay makes use of artificial equilibrium points, allowing a spacecraft to hover above the orbital plane of Mars and thus ensuring communications when the planet is occulted by the Sun with respect to the Earth. The spacecraft’s power requirements and communications band utilized are taken into account to determine the relay architecture. A detailed contingency analysis is considered for recovering the relay after increasing periods of spacecraft propulsion failure, combined with a consideration of how to deploy the relay spacecraft to maximise propellant reserves and mission duration. For such a relay, a combination of solar sail and solar electric propulsion may prove advantageous, but only under specific circumstances of the relay architecture suggested. For highly non-Keplerian orbits the dynamics of the spacecraft is also briefly extended to consider the elliptic restricted three-body problem and the effects of orbit eccentricity.