The 2009 JPL-Caltech Summer Titan SURF Project


  • Mentor(s): Craig Peterson, Jerrold Marsden, Ashley Moore, Stefano Campagnola

  • Project Description: The student will work with Caltech advisors and JPL mission designers to work on some new techniques for the creation of optimal trajectories for outer planet missions, with an eye to a mission to Europa or Titan. The idea is to combine new optimization techniques based on Discrete Mechanics and Optimal Control (DMOC) with other tools such as invariant manifolds and other conventional trajectory tools such as resonant gravity assists to create fuel efficient trajectories. Students interested in this topic should contact Ashley Moore (graduate student in CDS at Caltech) and Evan Gawlik (an undergraduate in ACM who did a SURF project along these lines in the summer of 2008) for background and a jumping off point.

  • Recommended Prerequisites: Some experience with orbital dynamics (for example a mission design class) is desirable. Familiarity with low-energy trajectories and multi-body dynamics is desirable.

  • DMOC (Discrete Mechanics and Optimal Control) Link
  • Paper on optimal mission design (Ashley Moore et al)
  • Paper on design of a mission to Mercury (Evan Gawlik et al)