Titan, a moon of Saturn, is of great interest to space scientists. Titan is the only moon with a dense atmosphere and clouds and with liquids on its surface. Universe Today reports on a masters thesis that proposes a mission using Direct Fusion Drive to put an orbiter around the moon. The thesis, “Trajectory design for a Titan mission using the Direct Fusion Drive,” is by Marco Gajeri under the direction of Professor Sabrina Corpino of the Politecnio di Torino and Professor Roman Kezerashvili of the City University of New York.
The thesis gives an excellent overview of nuclear fusion technology and space propulsion. The author then goes on to do trajectory analysis for the Titan mission using STK. He presents three different mission strategies using Direct Fusion Drive. He includes all of the orbital maneuvering needed to get into a Titan orbit. His mission designs would get a spacecraft to Titan in two years.
Hi, I am a senior at San Diego State University and I am tasked with creating an STk path for a mission to Titan, initially influenced by NASA’s Dragonfly path. Have you already created your STK? And would you allow me to see how you did it?
Hi Riley! We don’t use STK so we can’t help there. The process is to pick your launch vehicle, which gives you your heliocentric velocity. You then create the interplanetary mission plan which may involve multiple flybys, and go into a Saturnian orbit. You then rendezvous with Titan and do an orbit entry. This may involve aerodynamic braking.