Date of Award

Spring 4-1997

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Yechiel J. Crispin

Committee Member

Habib Eslami

Committee Member

Seenith Sivasundaram


The minimum fuel rendezvous problem between several power-limited low-thrust spacecraft neighboring either a circular or an elliptic orbit is investigated. Both cooperative and non cooperative maneuvers are studied. The maximum principle of Pontryagin is applied to the optimal control rendezvous problem of several spacecraft. The gravitational field models investigated are the Clohessy-Wiltshire field and the inverse-square gravity field. Numerical solutions using a shooting method and the finite difference method are used in order to determine the trajectories of the spacecraft. Unlike previous investigations, this work is not restricted to a rendezvous of two spacecraft around a circular orbit, but a few vehicles will be able to rendezvous in space at a fixed-final time, both about a circular orbit and about an elliptic orbit.