Orbit determination and control for the European Student Moon Orbiter

Alison Gibbings, Federico Zuiani, Massimiliano Vasile

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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Scheduled for launch in 2014-2015 the European Student Moon Orbiter (ESMO) will be the first lunar microsatellite designed entirely by the student population. ESMO is being developed through the extensive use of flight spared and commercial of the shelf units. As such ESMO is significantly constrained by the available mission delta-V. This provides a considerable challenge in designing a viable transfer and stable orbit around the Moon. Coupled with an all-day piggy-back launch opportunity, where ESMO has little or no control over the launch date, ESMO is considered to be an ambitious design. To overcome these inherent challenges, the use of a Weak Stability Boundary (WSB) transfer into a highly eccentric orbit is proposed. However to ensure accurate insertion around the Moon, ESMO must use a complex navigation strategy. This includes mitigation approaches and correction strategies. This paper will therefore present results from the ongoing orbit determination analysis and navigation scenarios to ensure capture around the Moon. While minimising the total delta-V, analysis includes planning for orbital control, scheduling and the introduction of Trajectory Correction Manoeuvres (TCMs). Analysis was performed for different transfer options, final lunar orbit selection and available ground stations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2010
Event61st International Astronautical Congress 2010, IAC 2010 - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 27 Sep 20101 Oct 2010


Conference61st International Astronautical Congress 2010, IAC 2010
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic


  • European Student Moon Orbiter (ESMO)
  • micro satellite
  • weak stability boundary transfer
  • orbit determination analysis
  • Trajectory Correction Manoeuvres (TCMs)
  • lunar orbit


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