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Issue No. 03 - May/June (1999 vol. 1)
ISSN: 1521-9615
pp: 73-75
Trajectory optimization-finding the best way to "steer" a vehicle as it travels from one point to another-is a problem the aerospace industry faces often. For a high-performance fighter aircraft, this might mean trying to go from one altitude to another as quickly as possible to minimize flight time. An optimal trajectory for a spacecraft in orbit might require minimizing fuel consumption. When computing the reentry path for a vehicle, such as the space shuttle, it is often useful to construct the steering to minimize aerodynamic heating. Performance analysts encounter a wide variety of problems when determining such trajectory optimizations-all of which can be formulated mathematically as optimal-control problems.

J. T. Betts, "A Direct Approach to Solving Optimal Control Problems," in Computing in Science & Engineering, vol. 1, no. , pp. 73-75, 1999.
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