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International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 6801023, 12 pages
Research Article

Optimal Trajectory Determination and Mission Design for Asteroid/Deep-Space Exploration via Multibody Gravity Assist Maneuvers

Aerospace Engineering, San José State University, San José, CA 95192-0179, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Kamran Turkoglu

Received 19 April 2017; Accepted 28 June 2017; Published 3 August 2017

Academic Editor: Angel Velazquez

Copyright © 2017 Sean Fritz and Kamran Turkoglu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper discusses the creation of a genetic algorithm to locate and optimize interplanetary trajectories using gravity assist maneuvers to improve fuel efficiency of the mission. The algorithm is implemented on two cases: (i) a Centaur-class target close to the ecliptic plane and (ii) a Centaur-class target with a high inclination to the ecliptic plane. Cases for multiple numbers of flybys (up to three) are discussed and compared. It is shown that, for the targets considered here, a single flyby of Jupiter is the most efficient trajectory to either target with the conditions and limitations discussed in this paper. In this paper, we also iterate on possible reasons for certain results seen in the analysis and show how these previously observed behaviors could be present in any trajectory found. The parameters and methods used in the algorithm are explained and justified over multiple real-life interplanetary missions to provide deeper insights into the development choices.