Date of Award

8-2019

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering

Department

Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Troy Henderson

First Committee Member

Dr. Morad Nazari

Second Committee Member

Dr. Richard Prazenica

Abstract

Asteroids have been mapped and observed since 1801 when an Italian astronomer Guiseppe Piazzi discovered Ceres (Serio, Manara, & Sicoli, 2002). Since then, asteroids have been growing in popularity throughout the scientific community because they are thought to hold the information we need to understand how the solar system developed and why life exists on earth, as well as potential precious resources. This research studies different types of orbits that have been performed to date around asteroids and how they can be reworked to require less control effort. Different types of missions that have been sent to asteroids are discussed, as well as the equipment needed for those missions. The use of optimal circular orbits around uniformly rotating asteroids are compared to methods currently used in asteroid science missions. In the process, the dynamics that are used in modeling the system, an optimization method used to map the equilibriums, and how much control effort can be saved by using the equilibrium fields are detailed for smaller asteroids as well as a larger one. Asteroids 216 Kleopatra, 2063 Bacchus, and 101955 Bennu were the focus of this research and significant fuel savings of up to 40% toward the elongated asteroids’ surfaces and 90% toward the spherical asteroids surface.

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