Optimization of sprint interplanetary trajectories with nuclear bimodal thermal propulsion


  • O. M. Kharytonov Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
  • S. R. Savchenko Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
  • N. Miranda Ecole Central Lyon, France, 36 Avenue Guy de Collongue, 69130, Ecully https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7549-5525




Interplanetary missions require fast and fuel-efficient transfers. Combining small times transfers of high-thrust and efficiency of low-thrust propulsion can provide a good compromise. Saving an amount of fuel from the initial high-thrust burn and using it to correct the trajectory could lead to an economy of fuel. We investigated the optimal way to take advantages of both high and low-thrust propulsion benefits in order to maximize the payload mass of the mission. Using a simple model of ideal engine of limited power and the transporting trajectory method, we determined the analytical expression of final payload mass. The solution of the optimization problem gave us the optimal repartition of fuel between high and low-thrust maneuvers for a given thrust of thermal propulsion and electrical power of low-thrust propulsion system. As the mass of the low-thrust propulsion system depends on the electrical power, we took it into account to determine the optimal electrical power for a sprint trajectory in a given time. As a result, we could obtain the interval of transfer time for which the combination of high and low thrust becomes optimal.

Key words: sprint trajectory, bimodal nuclear propulsion, transporting trajectory method.

Pages of the article in the issue: 74-77

Language of the article: English


KHARYTONOV, A. (2011) The investigation of the efficiency of the combination of high-and-low thrust arcs for interplanetary transfers. Vysnyk of Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv (ISSN 1728-3817).

BOROWSKI, S. & DUDZINSKI, L. (1998) NASA Technical Report TM-1998-208834: Vehicle and Mission Design Options for Humans Exploration of Mars/Phobos Using “Bimodal” NTR and LANTR Propulsion. Available from: tps://ntrs.nasa.gov/

BELETSKY, V. (2001) Essays in the Motion of Celestial Bodies. Available from: http://www.springer.com/


How to Cite

Kharytonov, O. M., Savchenko, S. R., & Miranda, N. (2019). Optimization of sprint interplanetary trajectories with nuclear bimodal thermal propulsion. Bulletin of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Physical and Mathematical Sciences, (1), 74–77. https://doi.org/10.17721/1812-5409.2019/1.16



Differential equations, mathematical physics and mechanics