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Direct lunar descent optimisation by finite elements in time approach

Vasile, Massimiliano and Finzi, Amalia E. (2000) Direct lunar descent optimisation by finite elements in time approach. International Journal of Mechanics and Control, 1 (1). ISSN 1590-8844

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In this paper a direct approach to trajectory optimisation, based on Finite Elements in Time (FET) discretisation is presented. Trajectory optimisation is performed combining the effectiveness and flexibility of Finite Elements in Time in solving complex boundary values problems with a common nonlinear programming algorithm. In order to avoid low accuracy proper to direct approaches, a mesh adaptivity strategy is implemented which exploits the ability of finite elements to represent both continuous and discontinuous functions. The effectiveness and accuracy of direct transcription by FET are proved by a selected number of sample problems. Finally an optimal landing manoeuvre is presented to show the power of the proposed approach in solving even complex and realistic problems.