Displaced periodic orbits with low-thrust propulsion

Jules Simo, Colin R. McInnes

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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Solar sailing and solar electric technology provide alternative forms of spacecraft propulsion. These propulsion systems can enable exciting new space-science mission concepts such as solar system exploration and deep space observation. The aim of this work is to investigate new families of highly non-Keplerian orbits, within the frame of the Earth-Moon circular restricted three-body problem (CRTBP), where the third massless body utilizes a hybrid of solar sail and a solar electric thruster. The augmented thrust acceleration is applied to ensure a constant displacement periodic orbit above L2, leading to simpler tracking from the lunar surface for communication applications. Using an approximate, first order analytical solution to the nonlinear non-autonomous ordinary differential equations, periodic orbits can be derived that are displaced above/below the plane of the CRTBP.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009
Event19th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting - Georgia, USA
Duration: 8 Feb 200912 Feb 2009


Conference19th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting
CityGeorgia, USA


  • solar sails
  • spacecraft
  • propulsion
  • periodic orbits


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