A Class of Optimal Two-Impulse Rendezvous Using Multiple-Revolution
In minimum-fuel impulsive spacecraft trajectories, long-duration
coast arcs between thrust impulses can occur.
If the coast time is long enough to allow one or more complete
revolutions of the central body, the solution becomes complicated.
Lambert's problem, the determination of the orbit that connects
two specified terminal points in a specified time interval,
affords multiple solutions.
For a transfer time long enough to allow N
revolutions of the central body there exist 2N + 1
trajectories that satisfy the boundary-value problem.
An algorithm based on the classical Lagrange formulation
for an elliptic orbit is developed that determines all the
trajectories. The procedure is applied to the problem of rendezvous with a
target in the same circular orbit as the spacecraft.
The minimum-fuel optimality of the two-impulse trajectory is
determined using primer vector theory.