Case Study: Bullseye

Interplanetary Trajectory Optimization

SpaceWorks Software created Bullseye to solve the problem of finding the optimal timing and path of an interplanetary trajectory. Whereas other in-space trajectory simulation codes typically require an initial guess that borders on a priori knowledge of the solution, Bullseye was designed from the outset to use a robust search algorithm to find the optimal solution even over a broad range of possibilities.

 Quick Facts

  • Java
  • Graphical User Interface
  • Wrapped and integrated for use in ModelCenter
Additional Details

Bullseye combines ephemeris data with a Lambert's solver to determine the optimal trajectory between two bodies for a given time of flight. You can choose one of two unique simulation modes. The first simulates a single interplanetary trajectory and might be useful for a cargo or robotic mission. The second combines an outbound trajectory, surface stay period, and return trajectory as would be the case in a human or sample return mission.

Bullseye utilizes a robust search routine to quickly explore a large set of potential interplanetary trajectories. Simply set your ranges for departure date, time(s) of flight, and the optional surface stay period, and execute the simulation.

Bullseye has several features that differentiate it from similar trajectory analysis codes. First, Bullseye enables you to eliminate candidate solutions that don't meet your requirements by placing bounds on departure and arrival dates, time(s) of flight, surface stay periods, and allowable C3 and delta-V for each mission segment. Second, with Bullseye you can add custom ephemeris data for objects such as asteroids and comets to augment the default dataset in the application.