Spacecraft Trajectory Design Techniques Using Resonant Orbits

Srianish Vutukuri, Purdue University


Resonance phenomena are ubiquitous in the solar system. Historically, resonant orbits have been extensively studied to understand the long-term stability and formation of the solar system. In mission design, they have been employed as a mechanism for multiple planetary flyby trajectories and as a source for long-term orbital stability. However, resonance phenomena have not been fully explored as a tool for designing spacecraft trajectories in multi-body dynamical systems which include 1) constructing baseline ephemeris solutions with desired properties and 2) as transfer mechanisms connecting stable periodic orbits. In this investigation, the above goals are addressed within the context of Earth-Moon system by looking at two specific mission scenarios. In general, a quasi-periodic ephemeris trajectory is constructed by employing a stacking process in which multiple revolutions of an identical periodic orbit in CR3BP are placed one behind another before transitioning them into the higher fidelity model. Depending upon the epoch, the resulting ephemeris trajectory may or may not satisfy all the desired mission parameters which include eclipse avoidance and periapsis conditions. To overcome this problem, a synodic resonant orbit in the cislunar space is used to develop an alternative, non-homogeneous stacking process to produce ephemeris trajectories with a better eclipse avoidance and periapsis control strategy. The second goal of this investigation is to explore the possibility of incorporating resonant arcs and their manifolds in the transfer design process to aid the transfer guess generation between stable periodic orbits with no natural dynamical structures. The applicability of this idea is demonstrated between two stable cislunar periodic orbits by constructing various transfer scenarios incorporating resonant arcs and manifolds. Locally optimum transfers are generated in the CR3BP, and their practical validity is tested by transitioning them into a higher fidelity model. The techniques demonstrated to address the two goals are general and apply to other dynamical systems.




Howell, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Aerospace engineering

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