Transfers around phobos using invariant manifolds of unstable quasi-satellite orbits

Nishanth Pushparaj, Nicola Baresi, Yasuhiro Kawakatsu

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Quasi-satellite orbits (QSOs) are stable retrograde orbits in the restricted three-body problem that have gained attention as a viable candidate for future deep-space missions towards remote planetary satellites. JAXA's robotic sample return mission MMX will utilize QSOs to perform scientific observations of the Martian moon Phobos before landing on its surface and attempt sample retrieval.The complex dynamical environment around Phobos makes the proximity operations of MMX quite challenging and requires novel and sophisticated techniques for maintaining and transferring between different quasi-satellite orbits. The present paper proposes a new transfer design method based on dynamical systems theory and invariant manifolds of unstable 3D-QSOs. We use the Circular Hill Problem with ellipsoidal Phobos throughout the study. We first compute the three-dimensional QSOs (3D-QSOs) using the out-of-plane bifurcations from the planar QSO family and utilize the weakly unstable 3D-QSOs in the mid-altitude region as an intermediate orbit to design transfers between a high-altitude and low-altitude planar QSOs. Numerical results suggest that transfers from a high-altitude QSO to 3D-QSO are executed with an approximate ?V of 20-35 m/s with a time of flight of 2 to 30 days and ?V of 16-28 m/s to reach low-altitude QSO from a 3D-QSO in 1 to 8 days.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event71st International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Oct 12 2020Oct 14 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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