As I have mentioned before, I am trying to optimize an Earth - Mars low-thrust transfer using a particular method. It has been mentioned to me, and I have seen it in many papers, that thrust history is quite important. I understand that it is important in the sense that the thrust can't be too high for the thruster to actually follow that trajectory - but is there more? Why is thrust history so important? It seems to me that if it were just about keeping the levels within a range you could just include it as a penalty method in the optimiser?

Best, -H

The main reference I am consulting is Conway, B. "Spacecraft Trajectory Optimization"

  • $\begingroup$ Could you add links to the papers you mentioned? It would be interesting. $\endgroup$
    – Heopps
    Aug 25, 2018 at 13:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ To be honest, I've been researching around this question for a while, and I haven't found a much more comprehensive source than Conway's "Spacecraft Trajectory Optimization" not only does he explain it really well, he references papers by basically all the major players in the field. $\endgroup$ Aug 25, 2018 at 13:55
  • $\begingroup$ One of the importance of thrust vector history is the slew rate and whether or not your thrusters are gimbaled. If they aren't, then you need to slew the spacecraft, which means you may lose communication with it. In operations, different manufacturer also have different ways of commanding the attitude of the spacecraft.. $\endgroup$
    – ChrisR
    Aug 25, 2018 at 17:37


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