DDA2001, April2001
Session 8. Unnatrual Things
Tuesday, 3:20-4:50pm

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[8.01] Low Energy Transfer to the Moon

W.S. Koon (Control and Dynamical Systems, Caltech), M.W. Lo (Navigation and Mission Design, Jet Propulsion Laboratory), J.E. Marsden, S.D. Ross (Control and Dynamical Systems, Caltech)

New space missions are increasingly more complex; demand for exotic orbits to solve engineering problems has grown beyond the existing astrodynamic infrastructure based on two-body interactions. The delicate heteroclinic dynamics used by the Genesis Mission dramatically illustrate the need for a new paradigm: dynamical system study of three-body problem.

Furthermore, this dynamics has much to say about the morphology and transport of materials within the Solar System. The cross-fertilization of ideas between the natural dynamics of the Solar System and applications to engineering has produced new techniques for constructing spacecraft trajectories with interesting characteristics.

Specifically, these techniques are used here to produce a lunar capture mission which uses less fuel than a Hohmann transfer. We approximate the Sun-Earth-Moon-Spacecraft four-body problem as two three-body problems. Using the invariant manifold structures of the Lagrange points of the three-body systems, we are able to construct low energy transfer trajectories from the Earth which exhibit ballistic capture at the Moon. The techniques used in the design and construction of this trajectory may be applied in many situations.

This is joint work with Martin W. Lo, Jerrold E. Marsden and Shane D. Ross and was partially supported by the National Science Foundation Grant No. KFI/ATM-9873133 under a contract with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA.

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