CEAS Space Journal

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 49–59

Weak stability boundary transfer to the Moon from GTO as a piggyback payload on Ariane 5


    • DLR German Aerospace Center
  • Jörn Spurmann
    • DLR German Aerospace Center
  • Erwin Dekens
    • DLR German Aerospace Center
  • Hartmut Päsler
    • AMSAT-DL
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s12567-012-0024-3

Cite this article as:
Quantius, D., Spurmann, J., Dekens, E. et al. CEAS Space J (2012) 3: 49. doi:10.1007/s12567-012-0024-3


In cooperation with the German non-profit amateur satellite organisation (AMSAT-DL), the German Aerospace Center developed the idea of using AMSAT’s Earth satellite P3-D as a baseline for a Moon mission. For cost-effectiveness, P3-D was launched as an auxiliary payload on Ariane 5 into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) and used its on-board propulsion system to achieve a Molniya orbit. The present study describes how a similar satellite can reach a 100 × 100 km lunar orbit with the same launch strategy. A delta-v saving transfer scenario using the weak stability boundary transfer was found to be feasible taking a P3-D-like satellite bus into account. It contains phasing orbits as a solution for non-dedicated launch dates and deals with the constraints of Ariane’s GTO. This approach opens up the opportunity to accomplish a low-cost mission to the Moon with public and scientific value.


DLR-AMSAT P5 MoonWSBAuxiliary payloadOpen sourceLunar orbitLow-cost satelliteLunar television

Copyright information

© CEAS 2012