Date of Award

12-2011

Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering

Department

Aerospace Engineering

Advisor

Kira Abercromby

Abstract

The paper describes the background and concepts behind a master’s thesis platform known as COMET (Constrained Optimization of Multiple-dimensions for Efficient Trajectories) created for mission designers to determine and evaluate suitable interplanetary trajectories. This includes an examination of the improvements to the global optimization algorithm, Differential Evolution, through a cascading search space pruning method and decomposition of optimization parameters. Results are compared to those produced by the European Space Agency’s Advanced Concept Team’s Multiple Gravity Assist Program. It was found that while discrepancies in the calculation of ΔV’s for flyby maneuvers exist between the two programs, COMET showed a noticeable improvement in its ability to avoid premature convergence and find highly isolated solutions.