Orbit determination and control for the European Student Moon Orbiter

Federico Zuiani, Alison Gibbings, Massimo Vetrisano, Francesco Rizzi, Cesar Martinez, Massimiliano Vasile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
184 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents the preliminary navigation and orbit determination analyses for the European Student Moon Orbiter. The severe constraint on the total mission Delta nu and the all-day piggy-back launch requirement imposed by the limited available budget, led to the choice of using a low-energy transfer, more specifically a Weak Stability Boundary one, with a capture into an elliptic orbit around the Moon. A particular navigation strategy was devised to ensure capture and fulfil the requirement for the uncontrolled orbit stability at the Moon. This paper presents a simulation of the orbit determination process, based on an extended Kalman filter, and the navigation strategy applied to the baseline transfer of the 2011-2012 window. The navigation strategy optimally allocates multiple Trajectory Correction Manoeuvres to target a so-called capture corridor. The capture corridor is defined, at each point along the transfer, by back-propagating the set of perturbed states at the Moon that provides an acceptable lifetime of the lunar orbit. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-78
Number of pages12
JournalActa Astronautica
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • ESMO
  • weak stability boundary transfer
  • navigation
  • mission analysis
  • flight dynamics


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