Leveraging natural dynamical structures to explore multi-body systems

Natasha Bosanac, Purdue University


Multi-body systems have become the target of an increasing number of mission concepts and observations, supplying further information about the composition, origin and dynamical environment of bodies within the solar system and beyond. In many of these scenarios, identification and characterization of the particular solutions that exist in a circular restricted three-body model is valuable. This insight into the underlying natural dynamical structures is achieved via the application of dynamical systems techniques. One application of such analysis is trajectory design for CubeSats, which are intended to explore cislunar space and other planetary systems. These increasingly complex mission objectives necessitate innovative trajectory design strategies for spacecraft within our solar system, as well as the capability for rapid and well-informed redesign. Accordingly, a trajectory design framework is constructed using dynamical systems techniques and demonstrated for the Lunar IceCube mission. An additional application explored in this investigation involves the motion of an exoplanet near a binary star system. Due to the strong gravitational field near a binary star, physicists have previously leveraged these systems as testbeds for examining the validity of gravitational and relativistic theories. In this investigation, a preliminary analysis into the effect of an additional three-body interaction on the dynamical environment near a large mass ratio binary system is conducted. As demonstrated through both of these sample applications, identification and characterization of the natural particular solutions that exist within a multi-body system supports a well-informed and guided analysis.




Howell, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Aerospace engineering

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