Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Richard G. Cobb, PhD


Rapid trajectory generation is crucial to prompt global warfare. To meet the USAF’s objective of Persistent and Responsive Precision Engagement, a rapid mission planning tool is required. This research creates the framework for the mission planning tool and provides a sample optimal trajectory which is solved using the GPOPS software package. GPOPS employs a Gaussian pseudospectral method to solve the non-linear equations of motion with both end conditions and path constraints. By simultaneously solving the entire trajectory based on an initial guess and small number of nodes, this method is ideal for generating rapid solutions. The sample case is a multi-phase minimum time, optimal control problem which is used to validate the planning tool. The developed framework includes different atmospheric models, gravity models, inclusion of no-flyzones and waypoints, and the ability to create a library of sample cases. This versatile tool can be used for either trajectory generation or mission analysis. The results of this research show the complexities in solving an optimal control problem with states that change from one phase of the problem to another. At the conclusions of this research multiple phases were successfully connected and solved as a single optimal control problem. However, the entire trajectory solution from launch to impact solved simultaneously, is still an objective yet to be demonstrated. The results found should be a solid foundation for a future mission planning tool.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number