Purdue University Graduate School
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Cislunar Trajectory Design Methodologies Incorporating Quasi-Periodic Structures With Applications

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posted on 2022-04-29, 02:08 authored by Brian P. McCarthyBrian P. McCarthy


In the coming decades, numerous missions plan to exploit multi-body orbits for operations. Given the complex nature of multi-body systems, trajectory designers must possess effective tools that leverage aspects of the dynamical environment to streamline the design process and enable these missions. In this investigation, a particular class of dynamical structures, quasi-periodic orbits, are examined. This work summarizes a computational framework to construct quasi-periodic orbits and a design framework to leverage quasi-periodic motion within the path planning process. First, quasi-periodic orbit computation in the Circular Restricted Three-Body Problem (CR3BP) and the Bicircular Restricted Four-Body Problem (BCR4BP) is summarized. The CR3BP and BCR4BP serve as preliminary models to capture fundamental motion that is leveraged for end-to-end designs. Additionally, the relationship between the Earth-Moon CR3BP and the BCR4BP is explored to provide insight into the effect of solar acceleration on multi-body structures in the lunar vicinity. Characterization of families of quasi-periodic orbits in the CR3BP and BCR4BP is also summarized. Families of quasi-periodic orbits prove to be particularly insightful in the BCR4BP, where periodic orbits only exist as isolated solutions. Computation of three-dimensional quasi-periodic tori is also summarized to demonstrate the extensibility of the computational framework to higher-dimensional quasi-periodic orbits. Lastly, a design framework to incorporate quasi-periodic orbits into the trajectory design process is demonstrated through a series of applications. First, several applications were examined for transfer design in the vicinity of the Moon. The first application leverages a single quasi-periodic trajectory arc as an initial guess to transfer between two periodic orbits. Next, several quasi-periodic arcs are leveraged to construct transfer between a planar periodic orbit and a spatial periodic orbit. Lastly, transfers between two quasi-periodic orbits are demonstrated by leveraging heteroclinic connections between orbits at the same energy. These transfer applications are all constructed in the CR3BP and validated in a higher-fidelity ephemeris model to ensure the geometry persists. Applications to ballistic lunar transfers are also constructed by leveraging quasi-periodic motion in the BCR4BP. Stable manifold trajectories of four-body quasi-periodic orbits supply an initial guess to generate families of ballistic lunar transfers to a single quasi-periodic orbit. Poincare mapping techniques are used to isolate transfer solutions that possess a low time of flight or an outbound lunar flyby. Additionally, impulsive maneuvers are introduced to expand the solution space. This strategy is extended to additional orbits in a single family to demonstrate "corridors" of transfers exist to reach a type of destination motion. To ensure these transfers exist in a higher fidelity model, several solutions are transitioned to a Sun-Earth-Moon ephemeris model using a differential corrections process to show that the geometries persist.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Aeronautics and Astronautics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Kathleen Howell

Additional Committee Member 2

Carolin Frueh

Additional Committee Member 3

Martin Corless

Additional Committee Member 4

Diane Davis