Indirect Forward-Backward Shooting for Low-Thrust Trajectory Optimization in Multi-Body Dynamics

Sponsor: Purdue University

Within the framework trajectory optimization, indirect methods are known to reduce the number of optimization variables, however yield extreme sensitivity to the initial guess. In the multi-body regime, well known for chaotic behavior due to high nonlinearities, the optimization problem is even more sensitive to the search variables. Developing robust numerical tools to design optimal transfers in multi-body dynamics using indirect methods will allow a broader landscape in the space trajectory optimization field. We developed a space trajectory optimization method named indirect forward-backward shooting to design optimal transfers in multi-body dynamics. This method has proven its efficiency in finding families of optimal transfers in spite of very simple initial guess. The applications include low-thrust transfers in three-body dynamics for space exploration and sciences, especially cislunar space and icy-moons exploration around gas giant planets.