Spacecraft trajectories to the L_{3} point of the SunEarth threebody problem
Abstract
Of the three collinear libration points of the SunEarth Circular Restricted ThreeBody Problem (CR3BP), L_{3} is that located opposite to the Earth with respect to the Sun and approximately at the same heliocentric distance. Whereas several space missions have been launched to the other two collinear equilibrium points, i.e., L_{1} and L_{2}, taking advantage of their dynamical and geometrical characteristics, the region around L_{3} is so far unexploited. This is essentially due to the severe communication limitations caused by the distant and permanent opposition to the Earth, and by the gravitational perturbations mainly induced by Jupiter and the close passages of Venus, whose effects are more important than those due to the Earth. However, the adoption of a suitable periodic orbit around L_{3} to ensure the necessary communication links with the Earth, or the connection with one or more relay satellites located at L_{4} or L_{5}, and the simultaneous design of an appropriate station keepingstrategy, would make it possible to perform valuable fundamental physics and astrophysics investigations from this location. Such an opportunity leads to the need of studying the ways to transfer a spacecraft (s/c) from the Earth’s vicinity to L_{3}. In this contribution, we investigate several trajectory design methods to accomplish such a transfer, i.e., various types of twoburn impulsive trajectories in a Suns/c twobody model, a patched conics strategy exploiting the gravity assist of the nearby planets, an approach based on traveling on invariant manifolds of periodic orbits in the SunEarth CR3BP, and finally a lowthrust transfer. We examine advantages and drawbacks, and we estimate the propellant budget and time of flight requirements of each.
 Publication:

Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy
 Pub Date:
 November 2010
 DOI:
 10.1007/s105690109299x
 Bibcode:
 2010CeMDA.108..215T
 Keywords:

 Twobody impulsive maneuvers;
 Patched conics;
 Gravity assist;
 Circular restricted threebody problem;
 Libration points;
 Periodic orbits;
 Invariant manifolds;
 Lowthrust