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Ballistic Interplanetary Trajectory Design and Optimization

version (1020 KB) by David Eagle
A MATLAB Script for Ballistic Interplanetary Trajectory Design and Optimization


Updated 31 Mar 2015

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PDF document and a MATLAB script called ipto_matlab that can be used to design and optimize “patched conic” ballistic interplanetary trajectories between any two planets of our solar system. It can also be used to find two-body trajectories between a planet and an asteroid or comet. A patched-conic trajectory ignores the gravitational effect of both the launch and arrivals planets on the heliocentric transfer trajectory. This technique involves the solution of Lambert's problem relative to the Sun. Patched-conic trajectories are suitable for preliminary mission design. This script uses the SNOPT nonlinear programming (NLP) algorithm to solve this classic astrodynamics problem.
The ipto_matlab MATLAB script also performs a graphical primer vector analysis of the solution. This program feature displays the behavior of the primer vector magnitude and primer derivative magnitude as a function of mission elapsed time in days from departure.

Cite As

David Eagle (2020). Ballistic Interplanetary Trajectory Design and Optimization (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

Comments and Ratings (2)


Hi, was just looking for the DE424 file but the closest seems to be DE 421, will that still work?


Fixed two bugs related to the mission constraints script option. Updated the PDF user's manual for this option. Verified that the script works with the March 2015 version of SNOPT.

Updated to use the September 2014, 64 bit version of SNOPT.

Added version of main script (ipto_matlab_64bit.m) that uses the March 17, 2014 version of SNOPT.

Added additional features to the heliocentric graphic display. Updated PDF document with additional script example.

Updated version includes the option to enforce user-defined mission constraints during the trajectory optimization. PDF document updated to reflect this change.

MICE version included in archive.

Minor script changes (ecliptic-to-equatorial transformation, etc.) along with updates to PDF document.

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2012b
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux