The Journal of the Astronautical Sciences

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 44–72 | Cite as

Trajectory Design for MoonRise: A Proposed Lunar South Pole Aitken Basin Sample Return Mission

  • Jeffrey S. Parker
  • Timothy P. McElrath
  • Rodney L. Anderson
  • Theodore H. Sweetser


This paper presents the mission design for the proposed MoonRise New Frontiers mission: a lunar far side lander and return vehicle, with an accompanying communication satellite. Both vehicles are launched together, but fly separate low-energy transfers to the Moon. The communication satellite enters lunar orbit immediately upon arrival at the Moon, whereas the lander enters a staging orbit about the lunar Lagrange points. The lander descends and touches down on the surface 17 days after the communication satellite enters orbit. The lander remains on the surface for nearly two weeks before lifting off and returning to Earth via a low-energy return.


MoonRise Trajectory design Lunar mission Lunar sample return Low-energy transfers New frontiers 



This work would not be possible without many people who contributed to the proposed 2009 New Frontiers MoonRise concept design, including the PI Dr. Bradley Jolliff, the capture lead Leon Alkalai, and the team members within the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, ISRO, CSA, DLR, and elsewhere. Many people contributed to various elements of the proposed trajectory design, including Gene Bonfiglio, Min-Kun Chung, Sara Hatch, Dan Johnston, Stuart Kerridge, Ralph Roncoli, Guru Singh, Evgeniy Sklyanskiy, and Roby Wilson.

The research presented in this paper has been carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


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Copyright information

© American Astronautical Society 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey S. Parker
    • 1
  • Timothy P. McElrath
    • 2
  • Rodney L. Anderson
    • 2
  • Theodore H. Sweetser
    • 2
  1. 1.Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research, 431 UCBUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Jet Propulsion LaboratoryCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

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