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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 945030, 12 pages
Research Article

Minimum Fuel Low-Thrust Transfers for Satellites Using a Permanent Magnet Hall Thruster

1DMC, Space Mechanics and Control Division, National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Avenida dos Astronautas 1758, 12227-010 São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil
2Universidade de Brasília, Campus Darcy Ribeiro, Plano Piloto, 70910-900 Asa Norte, DF, Brazil

Received 12 October 2012; Revised 9 November 2012; Accepted 14 November 2012

Academic Editor: Vivian Gomes

Copyright © 2013 Thais Carneiro Oliveira 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.


Most of the satellite missions require orbital maneuvers to accomplish its goals. An orbital maneuver is an operation where the orbit of a satellite is changed, usually applying a type of propulsion. The maneuvers may have several purposes, such as the transfer of a satellite to its final orbit, the interception of another spacecraft, or the adjustment of the orbit to compensate the shifts caused by external forces. In this situation it is essential to minimize the fuel consumption to allow a greater number of maneuvers to be performed, and thus the lifetime of the satellite can be extended. There are several papers and studies which aim at the fuel minimization in maneuvers performed by space vehicles. In this context, this paper has two goals: (i) to develop an algorithm capable of finding optimal trajectories with continuous thrust that can fit different types of missions and constraints at the same time and (ii) to study the performance of two propulsion devices for orbital maneuvers under development at the Universidade de Brasilia, including a study of the effects of the errors in magnitude of these new devices.