Three-Body Invariant Manifold Transition with Electric Propulsion

  • Pierpaolo Pergola
  • Koen Geurts
  • Cosmo Casaregola
  • Mariano Andrenucci
Conference paper


The advantageous combination of dynamical systems theory of three-body models with Electric Propulsion to design novel spacecraft mission in multi-body regimes has been investigated. Combining the advantages of Electric Propulsion with respect to propellant requirements and low-energy ballistic trajectories existing in the three-body model, multi-body planetary tours can be designed. The employment of power constrained Electric Propulsion at the solar distance of Uranus is enabled by the use of Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators. This provides continuous availability of sufficient electrical power.

Not only a planetary tour of the Uranian system orbiting consecutively Oberon, Titania, Umbriel, Ariel and Miranda is designed, but also the required interplanetary trajectory transporting the spacecraft from the Earth to Uranus. Both the interplanetary trajectory and the planetary tour are computed in different three-body environments, where the start of the interplanetary phase is assisted by a high energy launch to limit the transfer time.

It is demonstrated that a feasible mission can be designed both in terms of transfer time and propellant mass requirement, with a scientifically interesting character. The spacecraft is unstable captured by the five moons for different periods of time, with a stable Uranian orbit as a final state.


Unstable Manifold Stable Manifold Libration Point Electric Propulsion Thrust Vector 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierpaolo Pergola
    • 1
  • Koen Geurts
    • 1
  • Cosmo Casaregola
    • 1
  • Mariano Andrenucci
    • 1
  1. 1.Alta S.p.A.PisaItaly

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