A transfer network linking Eearth, Moon, and the triangular libration point regions in the Earth-Moon system
In the near future, several space applications in the Earth-Moon system may require a spacecraft to hold a stable motion, but the transfer trajectory infrastructure to access such stable motions has not been fully investigated yet. The triangular libration points, L 4 and L5, in the Earth-Moon system have long been thought of as ideal locations for a communications satellite. Recently, Distant Retrograde Orbits (DROs) and Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbits (NRHOs) near the Moon have been identified as motion of interest for manned and unmanned missions with a focus on operations in cislunar space. The triangular libration points, as well as lunar DROs and NRHOs describe special types of possible motion for a spacecraft/satellite that is influenced solely by the gravitational fields of the Earth and the Moon. What is common to the tree types of solutions is that they are practically stable, that is, a spacecraft/satellite can naturally follow the solution for extended periods of time without requiring significant course adjustment maneuvers. This investigation contributes to the infrastructure of a network of transfer trajectories connecting regions of stability located near the Earth, Moon, and the triangular libration points in the Earth-Moon system. Several transfer options between regions of stability are presented and discussed, including transfer options between Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and lunar DRO, lunar DRO and periodic orbits near L4 and L5, as well as lunar DRO and L 2 NRHOs.
Howell, Purdue University.
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