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Effect of orbital shadow at an Earth-Moon Lagrange point on relay communication mission


The shadow effect is an important constraint to be considered during the implementation of exploration missions. In this paper, for the Earth-Moon Lagrange point L2 relay communication mission, shadow effect issues on a periodic orbit about L2 are investigated. A systematic analysis based on the time domain and phase space is performed including the distribution, duration, and frequency of shadows. First, the Lindstedt-Poincare and second-order differential correction methods are used in conjunction with the DE421 planetary ephemeris to achieve a mission trajectory family in a high-precision ephemeris model. Next, on the basis of a conical shadow model, the influence of different orbital phases and amplitudes on the shadow is analyzed. The distribution of the shadow is investigated as well. Finally, the configuration of the shadow and its characteristics are studied. This study provides an important reference and basis for mission orbit design and shadow avoidance for relay satellites at an Earth-Moon Lagrange point.

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This work was supported by National Science and Technology Major Project of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Lunar Exploration Program), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 11572038), and Chang Jiang Scholars Program.

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Correspondence to Dong Qiao.

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Tang, Y., Wu, W., Qiao, D. et al. Effect of orbital shadow at an Earth-Moon Lagrange point on relay communication mission. Sci. China Inf. Sci. 60, 112301 (2017).

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  • Earth-Moon system
  • equilibrium point
  • relay orbit
  • shadow effect
  • motion control