Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Ossama O Abdelkhalik


The problem of optimal design of a multi-gravity-assist space trajectories, with free number of deep space maneuvers (MGADSM) poses multi-modal cost functions. In the general form of the problem, the number of design variables is solution dependent. To handle global optimization problems where the number of design variables varies from one solution to another, two novel genetic-based techniques are introduced: hidden genes genetic algorithm (HGGA) and dynamic-size multiple population genetic algorithm (DSMPGA).

In HGGA, a fixed length for the design variables is assigned for all solutions. Independent variables of each solution are divided into effective and ineffective (hidden) genes. Hidden genes are excluded in cost function evaluations. Full-length solutions undergo standard genetic operations. In DSMPGA, sub-populations of fixed size design spaces are randomly initialized. Standard genetic operations are carried out for a stage of generations. A new population is then created by reproduction from all members based on their relative fitness. The resulting sub-populations have different sizes from their initial sizes. The process repeats, leading to increasing the size of sub-populations of more fit solutions. Both techniques are applied to several MGADSM problems. They have the capability to determine the number of swing-bys, the planets to swing by, launch and arrival dates, and the number of deep space maneuvers as well as their locations, magnitudes, and directions in an optimal sense. The results show that solutions obtained using the developed tools match known solutions for complex case studies. The HGGA is also used to obtain the asteroids sequence and the mission structure in the global trajectory optimization competition (GTOC) problem.

As an application of GA optimization to Earth orbits, the problem of visiting a set of ground sites within a constrained time frame is solved. The J2 perturbation and zonal coverage are considered to design repeated Sun-synchronous orbits. Finally, a new set of orbits, the repeated shadow track orbits (RSTO), is introduced. The orbit parameters are optimized such that the shadow of a spacecraft on the Earth visits the same locations periodically every desired number of days.