This paper explores the capability of solar sails to transfer a probe from the displaced Sun-Earth L1 and L2 libration points to the region of practical stability (RPS) around the triangular equilibrium points L4 and L5. If the sailcraft arrives inside the RPS with zero synodical velocity, it will remain there with minor station keeping requirements. Moreover, the location of the RPS is ideal for space weather missions as the Sun can be observed from a different angle compared to spacecraft orbiting the L1 point. The unstable manifolds of the displaced L1 and L2 points come close to these regions providing opportunities for natural transfer trajectories. By varying the solar sail orientation along the manifold, the dynamics can be altered and simple transfer trajectories that reach the RPS with few sail maneuvers are enabled. However, these trajectories are not optimal from a transfer time perspective, but can serve as suitable initial guesses for a direct optimization method to find minimum-time transfers between the displaced L1 and L2 points and the RPS at L4 and L5.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105458
Number of pages16
JournalAerospace Science and Technology
Volume95
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

    Research areas

  • Invariant manifolds, Libration point orbits, Minimum time optimization, Regions of practical stability, Solar sails

ID: 62661727