Date

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science

Department

Electrical Engineering

First Adviser

Hart, Terry

Abstract

While rovers have traditionally been used to explore extraterrestrial bodies, they reduce the total area explored on the ground as they are limited by traversing the surface. For this reason vertical takeoff and landing crafts are explored. The major downfall of this type of craft for exploration is the extra fuel costs which must be carried into orbit. Reducing the fuel burn for a given maneuver allows the mission to either bring less propellant or to explore further. In either case, it is highly advantageous to reach destination points with the least amount of fuel. This paper looks at fuel-optimal trajectory planning for these reasons. A combination of optimal control theory with sequential quadratic programming and rapidly exploring random trees is proposed to achieve a robust, real time optimal trajectory.

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