Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Low-energy ballistic lunar transfers
by Parker, Jeffrey S., Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2007, 481; 3284440
Abstract (Summary)

A systematic method is developed that uses dynamical systems theory to model, analyze, and construct low-energy ballistic lunar transfers (BLTs). It has been found that low-energy BLTs may be produced by intersecting the stable manifold of an unstable Earth-Moon three-body orbit with the Earth. A spacecraft following such a trajectory is only required to perform a single maneuver, namely, the Trans-Lunar Injection maneuver, in order to complete the transfer. After the Trans-Lunar Injection maneuver, the spacecraft follows an entirely ballistic trajectory that asymptotically approaches and arrives at the target lunar three-body orbit. Because these orbit transfers require no orbit insertion maneuver at the three-body orbit, the transfers may be used to send spacecraft 25–40% more massive than spacecraft sent to the same orbits via conventional, direct transfers. From the targeted three-body orbits, the spacecraft may transfer to nearly any region within the Earth-Moon system, including any location on the surface of the Moon. The systematic methods developed in this research allow low-energy BLTs to be characterized by six parameters. It has been found that BLTs exist in families, where a family of BLTs consists of transfers whose parameters vary in a continuous fashion from one end of the family to the other. The families are easily identified and studied using a BLT State Space Map (BLT Map). The present research studies BLT Maps and has surveyed a wide variety of BLTs that exist in the observed families. It has been found that many types of BLTs may be constructed between 185-km low Earth parking orbits and lunar three-body orbits that require less than 3.27 km/s and fewer than 120 days of transfer time. Under certain conditions, BLTs may be constructed that require less than 3.2 km/s and fewer than 100 days of transfer time. It has been found that BLTs may implement LEO parking orbits with nearly any combination of altitude and inclination; they may depart from their LEO parking orbits nearly any day of each month; and they may target a variety of different classes of unstable Earth-Moon three-body orbits. Finally, studies are provided that address how low-energy transfers impact the design of spacecraft systems and how BLT Maps may be implemented as pragmatic tools in the design of practical lunar missions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Born, George H.
Commitee: Anderson, Rodney L., Bradley, Elizabeth, Leuliette, Eric, Nerem, Robert S.
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: Aerospace Engineering
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-B 68/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Aerospace materials
Keywords: Ballistic, Cislunar, Low-energy, Lunar transfers, Moon, Spacecraft, Trajectory
Publication Number: 3284440
ISBN: 978-0-549-31493-6
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