Solar sail trajectories at the Earth-Moon Lagrange points

Jules Simo, Colin R. McInnes

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


Paper presented during Session 3, Orbital Dynamics, Symposium C1, Astrodynamics, Paper Number 13. This paper investigates displaced periodic orbits at linear order in the circular restricted Earth-Moon system, where the third massless body is a solar sail. These highly non-Keplerian orbits are achieved using an extremely small sail acceleration. The solar sail Earth-Moon system differs greatly from the Earth-Sun system as the Sun line direction varies continuously in the rotating frame and the equations of motion of the sail are given by a set of nonlinear non-autonomous ordinary differential equations. By introducing a first-order approximation, periodic orbits are derived analytically at linear order. These approximate analytical solutions are utilized in a numerical search to determine displaced periodic orbits in the full nonlinear model. The importance of finding such displaced orbits is to obtain continuous communications between the equatorial regions of the Earth and the polar regions of the Moon. As will be shown, displaced periodic orbits exist at all Lagrange points at linear order.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008
Event59th International Astronautical Congress - Glasgow, Scotland
Duration: 29 Sep 20083 Oct 2008


Conference59th International Astronautical Congress
CityGlasgow, Scotland


  • solar sails
  • trajectories
  • earth
  • moon
  • lagrange points
  • orbits


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