A Framework for Multi-Parameter Optimization of Orbits and Mission Design for Interplanetary Exploration

  • Bushra Alnaqbi

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


As noticed recently, there have been many interplanetary missions launched to study the outer planets. This focus on space exploration stems out of a desire to contribute to our understanding of the solar system by studying the characteristic of the outer planets, asteroids and comets. The orbital parameters for any space exploration missions were defined based on defining the science mission objectives. However, no studies exist that try to generalize the orbital characteristics for future inter-planetary missions. Therefore, the objective of the proposed project is to study the balance between operational orbits and remote sensing conditions by studying the different cross coupling effects to establish complete and harmonized datasets for other planets and/or moons and analyze any commonality between them. As a starting point, the orbits of Mars and Venus are studied in detail. The main idea is to provide general guidelines on choosing the right orbits for remote sensing interplanetary missions. The study leverages AGI's Systems Toolkit technology and STK/Analyzer to apply the trade analysis. The software shows the impact of the most effective parameters, especially, the altitude and the inclination and how this is related to the contact time of the satellite with Earth, power generated by the solar cells of the satellite and the percentage of area that is covered by the satellite foot print. These guidelines will provide an easier way to choose the initial guesses to facilitate detailed simulations in order to visualize the correct image of the design variables' impact as per the mission goals.
Date of AwardMay 2017
Original languageAmerican English


  • Interplanetary Mission
  • Solar System
  • Orbital Parameters
  • Mars and Venus
  • Earth-Planet
  • Planet-Sun system.

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