Analysis of Mission Opportunities to Sedna in 2029-2034

V.A. Zubko, A.A. Sukhanov, K.S. Fedyaev, V.V. Koryanov, A.A. Belyaev

Advances in Space Research
Available online 16 June 2021

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“Highlights

• Deep space mission challenges.
• Long-duration space missions.
• Space missions concepts for future generations.
• Trans-Neptunian objects exploration.
• Beyond Borders in Human Endeavour.”

“The article focuses on trajectory design to the trans-Neptunian object (90377) Sedna for launch in 2029–2034. Sedna is currently moving to the perihelion at a distance of around 74 au from the Sun. The perihelion passage is estimated to be in 2073-74. That opens up of opportunities to study such a distant object. Known for its orbit and 10 thousand year period, Sedna is an exciting object for deep space exploration. The current research provides two possible scenarios of transfer to Sedna. A direct flight and flights including gravity assist manoeuvres are considered. The present study showed that a direct flight would be practically unrealistic due to the high total characteristic velocity and the time of flight value. Promising scenarios include gravity assist manoeuvres near Venus, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune. The analysis of the close approach to asteroids during the flight to Sedna had been performed. Results of the research presented in this article show that the launch in 2029 provides the best transfer conditions in terms of minimum total characteristic velocity. The analysis shows that with a small additional impulses flybys of the large main-belt asteroids (16) Psyche for launch in 2034 and (20) Massalia for launch in 2029 are possible.”