Fuel-optimal trajectories in a planet-moon environment using multiple gravity assists
Proc. of 2007 International Symposium on Space Flight Dynamics

Shane D. Ross and Piyush Grover
Engineering Science and Mechanics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


For low energy spacecraft tra jectories such as multi-moon orbiters for the Jupiter system, multiple gravity assists by moons could be used in conjunction with ballistic capture to drastically decrease fuel usage. In this paper, we outline a procedure to obtain a family of zero-fuel multi-moon orbiter tra jectories, using a family of Keplerian maps derived by the first author previously. The maps capture well the dynamics of the full equations of motion; the phase space contains a connected chaotic zone where intersections between unstable resonant orbit manifolds provide the template for lanes of fast migration between orbits of different semima jor axes. Patched three body approach is used and the four body problem is broken down into two three-body problems, and the search space is considerably reduced by the use of properties of the Keplerian maps. We also introduce the notion of ‘Switching Region’ where the perturbations due to the two perturbing moons are of comparable strength, and which separates the domains of applicability of the corresponding two Keplerian maps.

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