Sun–Earth L1 and L2 to Moon transfers exploiting natural dynamics

Willem Johan van der Weg, Massimiliano Vasile

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper examines the design of transfers from the Sun–Earth libration orbits, at the L1 and L2 points, towards the Moon using natural dynamics in order to assess the feasibility of future disposal or lifetime extension operations. With an eye to the probably small quantity of propellant left when its operational life has ended, the spacecraft leaves the libration point orbit on an unstable invariant manifold to bring itself closer to the Earth and Moon. The total trajectory is modeled in the coupled circular restricted three-body problem, and some preliminary study of the use of solar radiation pressure is also provided. The concept of survivability and event maps is introduced to obtain suitable conditions that can be targeted such that the spacecraft impacts, or is weakly captured by, the Moon. Weak capture at the Moon is studied by method of these maps. Some results for planar Lyapunov orbits at L1 and L2 are given, as well as some results for the operational orbit of SOHO.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-308
Number of pages22
JournalCelestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy
Issue number3
Early online date26 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014


  • coupled circular restricted three-body problem
  • libration point
  • weak capture
  • lunar impact
  • lunar capture
  • solar radiation pressure
  • survivability


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