Spacecraft Capture at the Giant Planets

  • Aaliya Khan

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The recent discovery of water vapor plumes, by the Cassini mission, at the poles of Enceladus, one of Saturn's icy moons, and other compelling evidence for the existence of subsurface water on Saturn's major moons have driven scientific interest toward these so-called 'ocean worlds'. However, a project like Cassini/Huygens is onerous in terms of spacecraft size and mission cost. In an effort to explore cheaper alternatives, this study focuses on minimizing the propellant requirements for orbit insertion at Saturn, which is the main contribution to the mass budget of a spacecraft. In a previous study, the implementation of a gravity assist with Jupiter and an optimal steering law for a propelled arc in the Jupiter-to-Saturn transfer has shown that the arrival hyperbolic excess speed at Saturn can be reduced to 1
Date of AwardDec 2020
Original languageAmerican English


  • Gravity Assist
  • Inner Large Moons (ILMs)
  • Orbit Insertion
  • Saturn
  • Titan

Cite this