Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy

, Volume 127, Issue 4, pp 429–450 | Cite as

Efficient design of direct low-energy transfers in multi-moon systems

  • Elena Fantino
  • Roberto Castelli
Original Article


In this contribution, an efficient technique to design direct (i.e., without intermediate flybys) low-energy trajectories in multi-moon systems is presented. The method relies on analytical two-body approximations of trajectories originating from the stable and unstable invariant manifolds of two coupled circular restricted three-body problems. We provide a means to perform very fast and accurate computations of the minimum-cost trajectories between two moons. Eventually, we validate the methodology by comparison with numerical integrations in the three-body problem. Motivated by the growing interest in the robotic exploration of the Jovian system, which has given rise to numerous studies and mission proposals, we apply the method to the design of minimum-cost low-energy direct trajectories between Galilean moons, and the case study is that of Ganymede and Europa.


Spacecraft trajectories Low-energy transfers Circular restricted three-body problem Restricted two-body problem Galilean moons 



The authors wish to thank Roberto Flores, Martin Ozimek and Andrea Viale for useful discussions and the anonymous referee for his/her valuable suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Space Studies Institute of Catalonia (IEEC)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of MathematicsVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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