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EQUULEUS Trajectory Design


This paper presents the trajectory design for EQUilibriUm Lunar-Earth point 6U Spacecraft (EQUULEUS), which aims to demonstrate orbit control capability of CubeSats in the cislunar space. The mission plans to observe the far side of the Moon from an Earth-Moon L2 (EML2) libration point orbit. The EQUULEUS trajectory design needs to react to uncertainties of mission design parameters such as the launch conditions, errors, and thrust levels. The main challenge is to quickly design science orbits at EML2 and low-energy transfers from the post-deployment trajectory to the science orbits within the CubeSat’s limited propulsion capabilities. To overcome this challenge, we develop a systematic trajectory design approach that 1) designs over 13,000 EML2 quasi-halo orbits in a full-ephemeris model with a statistical stationkeeping cost evaluation, and 2) identifies families of low-energy transfers to the science orbits using lunar flybys and solar perturbations. The approach is successfully applied for the trajectory design of EQUULEUS.

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Part of the work described in this paper was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We thank the former and current members of the EQUULEUS mission analysis team for their support: Chit Hong Yam, Daniel Garcia, Tomohiro Yamaguchi, Quentin Verspieren, Yuki Kayama, Stefano Bonasera, Mattia Pugliatti, Yosuke Kawabata, Takuya Chikazawa, Kento Ichinomiya, Tomoya Kitade, Masahiro Fujiwara, and Diogene A. Dei Tos.

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Correspondence to Kenshiro Oguri.

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Oguri, K., Oshima, K., Campagnola, S. et al. EQUULEUS Trajectory Design. J of Astronaut Sci (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40295-019-00206-y

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  • Low-energy transfer
  • Halo orbit
  • Earth-Moon Lagrange point
  • Multi-body dynamics
  • Optimization
  • CubeSat