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Sun–Earth \(L_{1}\) and \(L_{2}\) to Moon transfers exploiting natural dynamics

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Abstract

This paper examines the design of transfers from the Sun–Earth libration orbits, at the \(L_{1}\) and \(L_{2}\) points, towards the Moon using natural dynamics in order to assess the feasibility of future disposal or lifetime extension operations. With an eye to the probably small quantity of propellant left when its operational life has ended, the spacecraft leaves the libration point orbit on an unstable invariant manifold to bring itself closer to the Earth and Moon. The total trajectory is modeled in the coupled circular restricted three-body problem, and some preliminary study of the use of solar radiation pressure is also provided. The concept of survivability and event maps is introduced to obtain suitable conditions that can be targeted such that the spacecraft impacts, or is weakly captured by, the Moon. Weak capture at the Moon is studied by method of these maps. Some results for planar Lyapunov orbits at \(L_{1}\) and \(L_{2}\) are given, as well as some results for the operational orbit of SOHO.

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Acknowledgments

This work was done as part of a study for the European Space Agency named “End-Of-Life Disposal Concepts for Lagrange-Point and Highly Elliptical Orbit Missions” (Contract No. 4000107624/13/F/MOS). The authors would like to acknowledge the following team members that contributed to the ESA study: Camilla Colombo, Hugh Lewis, Francesca Letizia, Stefania Soldini, Elisa Maria Alessi, Alessandro Rossi, Linda Dimare, Massimo Vetrisano, and Markus Landgraf. The authors would like to thank Elisa Maria Alessi in particular for her provision of the orbital characteristics of SOHO’s operational orbit. This work was partially supported by the EC Marie Curie Network for Initial Training Astronet-II, Grant Agreement No. 289240.

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Correspondence to Willem Johan van der Weg.

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van der Weg, W.J., Vasile, M. Sun–Earth \(L_{1}\) and \(L_{2}\) to Moon transfers exploiting natural dynamics. Celest Mech Dyn Astr 120, 287–308 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10569-014-9581-4

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