Mercury-to-Pluto Range Missions Using Solar-Nuclear Electric Propulsion.
There are considered possibilities to realize wide-range interplanetary mission using solar-nuclear electric propulsion. There are analyzed missions to Mercury, Pluto and asteroids. This study was carried out in the connection with INTAS Project 94-559/3099. In this Paper Analysis of Main Belt asteroids rendezvous missions by solar electric propulsion is done. The Main Belt asteroid sample return missions as well as mission to Fobos, Erot and comets are also considered. The estimate of the optimal Mercury-rendezvous low-thrust trajectory is presented: a direct flight to Mercury and some Mercury-rendezvous low-thrust trajectory with Venus swingby. There are also considered some Pluto rendezvous mission with nuclear (NEP) and solar-nuclear electric propulsion (SNEP). It contains: a calculation of optimal low-thrust trajectory for Pluto rendezvous mission; approximative calculation of Pluto rendezvous missions with NEP; an estimate of Low thrust Pluto rendezvous with NEP and a Pluto rendezvous mission with SNEP.