LOW-THRUST ROCKET STEERING PROGRAM FOR MINIMUM TIME TRANSFER BETWEEN PLANETARY ORBITS 580376
A mathematical analysis of the problem of a minimum time steering program for a low-thrust rocket with constant thrust-acceleration going from one planetary orbit to another is presented. Formal methods of the calculus of variations are employed. The assumed boundary conditions are zero radial velocity at the initial and final radii, and initial and final angular momenta equal to the local circular values. Only one central force field is included in the analysis. Results of numerical integration are presented for a thrust to mass ratio of 10-4 Earth “g”'s and a final-to-initial radius ratio of 1.5.