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Displaced periodic orbits with low-thrust propulsion

Simo, Jules and McInnes, C.R. (2009) Displaced periodic orbits with low-thrust propulsion. In: 19th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, 2009-02-08 - 2009-02-12.

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Solar sailing and solar electric technology provide alternative forms of spacecraft propulsion. These propulsion systems can enable exciting new space-science mission concepts such as solar system exploration and deep space observation. The aim of this work is to investigate new families of highly non-Keplerian orbits, within the frame of the Earth-Moon circular restricted three-body problem (CRTBP), where the third massless body utilizes a hybrid of solar sail and a solar electric thruster. The augmented thrust acceleration is applied to ensure a constant displacement periodic orbit above L2, leading to simpler tracking from the lunar surface for communication applications. Using an approximate, first order analytical solution to the nonlinear non-autonomous ordinary differential equations, periodic orbits can be derived that are displaced above/below the plane of the CRTBP.