Two-Body Approximations in the Design of Low-Energy Transfers Between Galilean Moons

Conference paper
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings book series (ASSSP, volume 44)


Over the past two decades, the robotic exploration of the Solar System has reached the moons of the giant planets. In the case of Jupiter, a strong scientific interest towards its icy moons has motivated important space missions (e.g., ESAs’ JUICE and NASA’s Europa Mission). A major issue in this context is the design of efficient trajectories enabling satellite tours, i.e., visiting the several moons in succession. Concepts like the Petit Grand Tour and the Multi-Moon Orbiter have been developed to this purpose, and the literature on the subject is quite rich. The models adopted are the two-body problem (with the patched conics approximation and gravity assists) and the three-body problem (giving rise to the so-called low-energy transfers, LETs). In this contribution, we deal with the connection between two moons, Europa and Ganymede, and we investigate a two-body approximation of trajectories originating from the stable/unstable invariant manifolds of the two circular restricted three body problems, i.e., Jupiter-Ganymede and Jupiter-Europa. We develop ad-hoc algorithms to determine the intersections of the resulting elliptical arcs, and the magnitude of the maneuver at the intersections. We provide a means to perform very fast and accurate evaluations of the minimum-cost trajectories between the two moons. Eventually, we validate the methodology by comparison with numerical integrations in the three-body problem.


Invariant Manifold Libration Point Giant Planet Keplerian Orbit Lyapunov Orbit 
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E.Fantino acknowledges support from the Marie-Curie Research Training Network Astronet-II.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Space Studies Institute of Catalonia (IEEC)Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC)TerrassaSpain
  2. 2.VU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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