Low-energy, low-thrust transfers to the Moon

Giorgio Mingotti, Francesco Topputo, Franco Bernelli-Zazzara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


The low-thrust version of the low energy transfers to the Moon exploiting the
structure of the invariant manifolds associated to the Lagrange point orbits is presented in this paper. A method to systematically produce low-energy, low-thrust transfers executing ballistic lunar capture is discussed. The coupled restricted three-body problems approximation is used to deliver appropriate first guess for the subsequent optimization of the transfer trajectory within a complete four-body model using direct transcription and multiple shooting
strategy. It is shown that less propellant than standard low energy transfers to the Moon is required. This paper follows previous works by the same authors aimed at integrating together knowledge coming from dynamical system theory and optimal control problems for the design of efficient low-energy, low-thrust transfers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-74
JournalCelestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy
Issue number1-3
Early online date10 Jul 2009
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


  • low-energy transfers
  • low-thrust transfers
  • ballistic capture
  • lagrange points
  • invariant manifolds
  • three-body problem


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