Two-Body Approximations in the Design of Low-Energy Transfers Between Galilean Moons
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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.
KeywordsInvariant Manifold Libration Point Giant Planet Keplerian Orbit Lyapunov Orbit
E.Fantino acknowledges support from the Marie-Curie Research Training Network Astronet-II.
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