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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2010, Article ID 313571, 11 pages
Research Article

Outer Planet Missions with Electric Propulsion Systems—Part I

1National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Av. Dos Astronautas, 1758, São José dos Campos, 12227-010, Brazil
2Federal University of ABC, Rua Santa Adélia, 166, Santo André, 09.210-170, Brazil
3Space Research Institute (IKI) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 84/32 Profsoyuznaya St., 117997 Moscow, Russia

Received 30 July 2009; Revised 16 December 2009; Accepted 1 April 2010

Academic Editor: Maria F. P. S. Zanardi

Copyright © 2010 Carlos Renato Huaura Solórzano et al. 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.


For interplanetary missions, efficient electric propulsion systems can be used to increase the mass delivered to the destination. Outer planet exploration has experienced new interest with the launch of the Cassini and New Horizons Missions. At the present, new technologies are studied for better use of electric propulsion systems in missions to the outer planets. This paper presents low-thrust trajectories using the method of the transporting trajectory to Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. They use nuclear and radio isotopic electric propulsion. These direct transfers have continuous electric propulsion of low power along the entire trajectory. The main goal of the paper is to optimize the transfers, that is, to provide maximum mass to be delivered to the outer planets.