Celestial mechanics

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 365–406 | Cite as

The critical inclination in artificial satellite theory

  • Shannon L. Coffey
  • André Deprit
  • Bruce R. Miller


Certain it is that the critical inclination in the main problem of artificial satellite theory is an intrinsic singularity. Its significance stems from two geometric events in the reduced phase space on the manifolds of constant polar angular momentum and constant Delaunay action. In the neighborhood of the critical inclination, along the family of circular orbits, there appear two Hopf bifurcations, to each of which there converge two families of orbits with stationary perigees. On the stretch between the bifurcations, the circular orbits in the planes at critical inclinmation are unstable. A global analysis of the double forking is made possible by the realization that the reduced phase space consists of bundles of two-dimensional spheres. Extensive numerical integrations illustrate the transitions in the phase flow on the spheres as the system passes through the bifurcations.


Manifold Angular Momentum Phase Space Hopf Bifurcation Global Analysis 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shannon L. Coffey
    • 1
  • André Deprit
    • 1
  • Bruce R. Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.National Bureau of StandardsGaithersburgU.S.A.

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