Science China Physics, Mechanics and Astronomy

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 179–186 | Cite as

Orbit design for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA)

  • Yan XiaEmail author
  • GuangYu Li
  • Gerhard Heinzel
  • Albrecht Rüdiger
  • YongJie Luo
Research Paper


The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) is a joint ESA-NASA mission for detecting low-frequency gravitational waves in the frequency range from 0.1 mHz to 1 Hz, by using accurate laser interferometry between three spacecrafts, which will be launched around 2018 and one year later reach their operational orbits around the Sun. In order to operate successfully, it is crucial for the constellation of the three spacecrafts to have extremely high stability. Based on the study of operational orbits for a 2015 launch, we design the operational orbits of beginning epoch on 2019-03-01, and introduce the method of orbit design and optimization. We design the orbits of the transfer from Earth to the operational orbits, including launch phase and separation phase; furthermore, the relationship between energy requirement and flight time of these two orbit phases is investigated. Finally, an example of the whole orbit design is presented.


co-orbital restricted problem orbit design orbit optimization launch energy 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    LISA Study Team. LISA Pre-Phase A Report. 2 ed. Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik, Report 233, 1998Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Li G, Yi Z, Heinzel G, et al. Methods for orbit optimization for the LISA Gravitational Wave Observatory. Int J Mod Phys D, 2008, 17: 1021–1042CrossRefADSzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Faller J E, Bender P L, Hall J L, et al. Space Antenna for Gravitational Wave Astronomy. Kilometric Optical Arrays in Space. Proc. Colloquium European Space Agency, 1985, SP-226: 157–163ADSGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Vincent M A, Bender P L. The Orbital Mechanics of a Space-Borne Gravitational-Wave Experiment. AAS/AIAA Astro Specialist Conf, 1987Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Folkner W M, Hechler F, Sweetser T H, et al. LISA orbit selection and stability. Class Quantum Grav, 1997, 14: 1405–1410CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cutler C. Angular resolution of the LISA gravitational wave detector. Phys Rev D, 1998, 57: 7089–7102CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hughes S P. Preliminary Optimal Orbit Design for Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. 25th Annual AAS Guidance and Control Conference, 2002Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hechler F, Folkner W M. Mission Analysis for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) Mission. Adv Space Res, 2003, 32: 1277–1282CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dhurandhar S V, Nayak K R, Koshti S, et al. Fundamentals of the LISA stable flight formation. Class Quantum Grav, 2005, 22: 481–487CrossRefADSzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sweetser T H. An end-to-end trajectory description of the LISA mission. Class Quantum Grav, 2005, 22: S429–S439CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Nayak K R, Koshti S, Dhurandhar S V, et al. On the minimum flexing of LISA’s arms. Class Quantum Grav, 2006, 23: 1763–1778CrossRefMathSciNetADSzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Yi Z, Li G, Heinzel G, et al. Coorbital restricted problem and its application in the design of the orbits of the LISA spacecraft. Int J Mod Phys D, 2008, 17: 1005–1020CrossRefADSzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Battiti R, Techiolli G. The continuous reactive tabu search: Blending combinatorial optimization and stochastic search for global optimization. Ann Oper Res, 1994, 63: 151–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    George L E, Kos L D. Interplanetary Mission Design Handbook. NASA/TM-1998-208533, 1998Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Yang W, Zhou W. Orbit Design for Lunar Exploration Satellite CE-1 (in Chinese). Spacecr Eng, 2007, 16: 16–24Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Yang W, Zhou W. Launch opportunity analysis for lunar probe (in Chinese). Chin Space Sci Technol, 2005, 25: 11–15MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Yang W, Zhou W. Analysis on midcourse correction of translunar trajectory for CE-1 (in Chinese). Aerosp Control Appl, 2008, 34: 3–7Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Zhou W, Yang W. Mid-correction of trans-lunar trajectory of lunar explorer (in Chinese). J Astronaut, 2004, 25: 89–92zbMATHGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Science in China Press and Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yan Xia
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • GuangYu Li
    • 1
  • Gerhard Heinzel
    • 2
  • Albrecht Rüdiger
    • 2
  • YongJie Luo
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Purple Mountain ObservatoryChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute for Gravitational PhysicsHannoverGermany
  3. 3.Graduate University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations