Design of Ganymede-synchronous frozen orbit around Europa

Huang, Xuxing and Yang, Bin and Li, Shuang and Feng, Jinglang and Masdemont, Josep J. (2022) Design of Ganymede-synchronous frozen orbit around Europa. Mathematics, 11 (1). 41. ISSN 2227-7390 (

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A Ganymede-synchronous frozen orbit around Europa provides a stable spatial geometry between a Europa probe and a Ganymede lander, which facilitates the observation of Ganymede and data transmission between probes. However, the third-body gravitation perturbation of Ganymede continues to accumulate and affect the long-term evolution of the Europa probe. In this paper, the relative orbit of Ganymede with respect to Europa is considered to accurately capture the perturbation potential. The orbital evolution behaviors of the Europa probe under the non-spherical gravitation of Europa and the third-body gravitation of Jupiter and Ganymede are studied based on a double-averaging framework. Then, the initial orbital conditions of the Ganymede-synchronous frozen orbit are developed. A station-keeping maneuver was performed to maintain the orbital elements to achieve the Ganymede-synchronous and frozen behaviors. A numerical simulation showed that the consumption for orbital maintenance is acceptable.