Date of Award
Master of Science
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
William E. Wiesel, PhD.
My investigation of the Near Earth Object (NEO) catalog has led to identification of numerous short duration, under 40 days, mission opportunities in the future for three different mission types: uncrewed fly-by, uncrewed arrival, and crewed arrival. 2-body propagation techniques were used to model the orbits of various asteroid candidates and the Earth to determine when a close approach would occur. Once the dates were calculated, distance between the bodies was computed to estimate the ∆V to complete the mission. From the mission ∆V values, a possible mission duration was also computed. The values were analyzed to determine the best options for the mission types described above. One candidate is presented for the uncrewed fly-by opportunity, three for the uncrewed arrival mission, and four more for a potential crewed mission. The results show that a short duration mission is not only possible but should be strongly considered in the near future. These short duration missions are in sharp contrast to the common multi-month or year long duration proposals. Among the other wealth and resource benefits, short duration asteroid missions are of supreme importance for planetary defense and maintaining a powerful US space presence.
DTIC Accession Number
Millar, James B. III, "Short Duration Missions to Earth Crossing Asteroids" (2016). Theses and Dissertations. 440.