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Generation of Artificial Halo Orbits in Near-Moon Space Using Low-Thrust Engines


This study is devoted to the possibility of creating artificial halo orbits in the circular restricted three-body problem of the Earth–Moon system due to the small acceleration from low-thrust engines acting on a spacecraft for a long time in situations, where the natural halo orbit cannot meet the mission requirements or is busy. In this paper, using collocation and parameter-continuation methods, two classes of artificial halo orbits in the Earth–Moon system are obtained. The first class is generated due to additional constant in magnitude and direction acceleration. A complete family of orbits of this class was obtained, which significantly differ from the traditional ones in terms of period and shape. The second class of orbits is generated by variable electric propulsion. This class of orbits was obtained as a solution to the problem of the optimal consumption of the working substance for orbit formation with a given period using the Pontryagin maximum principle and the method of continuation in parameter. It was shown that there are significant differences in orbital periods between artificial halo orbits—descendants of the same halo orbit. The calculation results confirm the possibility of using low-thrust engines to vary the parameters of natural halo orbits suitable for ballistic design of future lunar missions.

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Correspondence to Du Chongrui.

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Du Chongrui, Starinova, O.L. Generation of Artificial Halo Orbits in Near-Moon Space Using Low-Thrust Engines. Cosmic Res 60, 124–138 (2022).

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