A Survey of Mission Opportunities to Trans-Neptunian Objects

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R. McGranaghan; B. Sagan; G. Dove; A. Tullos; J. E. Lyne; J. P. Emery (2011), JBIS, 64, 296-303

Refcode: 2011.64.296
Keywords: Trans-Neptunian objects, mission design, interplanetary

Preliminary designs for high thrust, flyby missions to five large trans-Neptunian Objects are discussed, with an emphasis on Quaoar, but also including Sedna, Makemake, Haumea, and Eris. The primary focus of this study was the design of the interplanetary trajectory for Earth departure dates between 2014 and 2050. The best trajectories identified use only a Jupiter gravity assist, require a total mission delta-V as low as 7.15 km/s and have arrival V values at the target comparable to those of the New Horizons mission to Pluto. Transit times range from 13.57 years for missions to Quaoar to 24.48 years to reach Sedna and Eris. Jupiter periapse radius is a critical factor for these missions, with satisfactory trajectories requiring values ranging from 3.5 to 25 planetary radii.

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