Utilities and Support Tools
MAnE was conceived as a workstation environment rather than a trajectory optimization program. Consequently, much effort has been devoted to assuring that supporting tools needed to properly conduct typical mission studies are readily available. It is anticipated that the number and quality of utility programs will grow with time. Following is a list of tools that are presently included:
- Store, retrieve, and maintain a database of accumulated case input data files.
- Convert among various time and date units and perform date calculations.
- Calculate dates of opposition/conjunction alignments of any two bodies.
- Calculate dates of nodal crossings of one celestial body on the orbit of another celestial body.
- Calculate the dates of closest approach of any two celestial bodies.
- Evaluate the location of any celestial body on a given date.
- Solve Lambert's problem for the conic section linking any two terminal points in a given transfer time.
- Query the JPL asteroid/comet ephemeris file to identify all among the 500,000+ entries with characteristics meeting specified criteria.
- Synchronize updated asteroid group files from Minor Planet Center with the JPL asteroid comet ephemeris file
- Display all information contained in the ephemeris files about a specific planet or other celestial body.
- Investigate potential mission extensions by identifying future close encounters with ephemeris bodies known to the environment. For example, this feature was used to identify the asteroid Mathilde encounter opportunity on the NEAR mission.
- Map trajectory data over specified ranges and increments of departure and arrival dates.
- Generate tab-delimited textfile of the trajectory mapping report file
- Perform a survey of all local minima of departure, arrival, or combined vís over a range of launch dates, flight times, and trajectory classifications for each combination of launch and target bodies in a given list.
- Perform a similar survey of missions consisting of two legs separated by a fixed stay time. This support program is well suited for sample return missions or manned Mars precursor missions to NEOís.
- Generate path reports of position vs. time for the spacecraft and/or ephemeris bodies.
- Produce a wide variety of reports for mission trajectories.