Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 756037, 14 pages
Research Article

Analysis of Electric Propulsion System for Exploration of Saturn

1Division of Space Mechanics and Control, National Institute for Space Research (INPE), 12227010 São José dos Campos, Brazil
2Flight Dynamics and Data Processing Division, Space Research Institute (IKI), 117997 Moscow, Russia

Received 3 November 2008; Revised 11 May 2009; Accepted 24 June 2009

Academic Editor: Dane Quinn

Copyright © 2009 Carlos Renato Huaura Solórzano et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Exploration of the outer planets has experienced new interest with the launch of the Cassini and the New Horizons Missions. At the present time, new technologies are under study for the better use of electric propulsion system in deep space missions. In the present paper, the method of the transporting trajectory is used to study this problem. This approximated method for the flight optimization with power-limited low thrust is based on the linearization of the motion of a spacecraft near a keplerian orbit that is close to the transfer trajectory. With the goal of maximizing the mass to be delivered in Saturn, several transfers were studied using nuclear, radioisotopic and solar electric propulsion systems.