Visiting Troy: The Solar-Electric Trojan Investigation Probe to Jupiter's Trojans

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V. Maiwald (2015), JBIS, 68, pp.242-250

Refcode: 2015.68.242
Keywords: Trojans, Solar Electric Propulsion, Low Thrust Optimization, Small Body Rendezvous

It is common ground that scientific data about the Trojans(e.g. composition, topography) would increase the knowledge about this population and provide insight into the whole solar system's history. This paper describes a solar electric propulsion mission, following the constraints of ESA-M-class Mission Calls, and has been elaborated during DLR's 20th Concurrent Engineering Study. The basis for the design, i.e. the mission and system requirements, are described and the overall system design is presented. To give a complete view of the mission it is further explained how the mission analysis has been conducted using an evolutionary neurocontrol method to obtain an optimized low-thrust trajectory for the Trojan Investigation Probe (TRIP), including target selection out of several hundred targets. The spacecraft with 1600kglaunch mass, carrying 6 scientific experiments (ca. 50 kg payload mass) with space heritage can visit four target bodies in the Trojan population. The spacecraft subsystems, and the system summary are explained. The trajectory allows a first rendezvous after about 5 years and afterwards with three more targets in a mission time of about 15 years, stressing the feasibility and opportunity for a large scientific outcome of this mission proposal.

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