Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Ronald J. Simmons, PhD.


An aeroassisted (skip) maneuver has the potential to decrease fuel costs of re-tasking satellites to overfly ground locations, orbital rendezvous, and initial orbit insertion. The trajectory dynamics of purely propulsive in-plane and out-of-plane maneuvers, along with aeroassisted maneuvers, are simulated in order to determine the time of arrival (TOA) and delta V associated with each maneuver required to overfly a ground target. Results indicate that aeroassisted maneuvers offer more overflight solutions per day than planar maneuvers while requiring less ΔV than exo-atmospheric plane change maneuvers. The TOA and delta V associated with each maneuver required to overfly a ground target is found for multiple ground target locations and starting orbits in order to determine analytical trends. From these trends, closed-form estimations of the delta V and TOA are generated for each maneuver type. Initial closed-form estimations show reasonable accuracy. The ability of the aeroassisted maneuver to modify an initial orbital trajectory is quantified by measuring the change in inclination and right ascension of the ascending node (RAAN) as perigee is lowered. Results show a 75% decrease in delta V over traditional exo-atmospheric maneuvers with a single skip enabling a satellite to change the orbital inclination and RAAN up to 45 deg and 90 deg respectively.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number