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Multi-Body Trajectory Design in the Earth-Moon Region Utilizing Poincare Maps

posted on 25.04.2022, 17:30 by Paige Alana WhittingtonPaige Alana Whittington

The 9:2 lunar synodic resonant near rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO) is the chosen orbit for the Gateway, a future lunar space station constructed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as well as several commercial and international partners. Designing trajectories in this sensitive lunar region combined with the absence of a singular systematic methodology to approach mission design poses challenges as researchers attempt to design transfers to and from this nearly stable orbit. This investigation builds on previous research in Poincar\'e mapping strategies to design transfers from the 9:2 NRHO using higher-dimensional maps and maps with non-state variables. First, Poincar\'e maps are applied to planar transfers to demonstrate the utility of hyperplanes and establish that maps with only two or three dimensions are required in the planar problem. However, with the addition of two state variables, the spatial problem presents challenges in visualizing the full state. Higher-dimensional maps utilizing glyphs and color are employed for spatial transfer design involving the 9:2 NRHO. The visualization of all required dimensions on one plot accurately reveals low cost transfers into both a 3:2 planar resonant orbit and an L2 vertical orbit. Next, the application of higher-dimensional maps is extended beyond state variables. Visualizing time-of-flight on a map axis enables the selection of faster transfers. Additionally, glyphs and color depicting angular momentum rather than velocity lead to transfers with nearly tangential maneuvers. Theoretical minimum maneuvers occur at tangential intersections, so these transfers are low cost. Finally, a map displaying several initial and final orbit options, discerned through the inclusion of Jacobi constant on an axis, eliminates the need to recompute a map for each initial and final orbit pair. Thus, computation time is greatly reduced in addition to visualizing more of the design space in one plot. The higher-dimensional mapping strategies investigated are relevant for transfer design or other applications requiring the visualization of several dimensions simultaneously. Overall, this investigation outlines Poincar\'e mapping strategies for transfer scenarios of different design space dimensions and represents initial research into non-state variable mapping methods.


NSF GRFP DGE-1842166


Degree Type

Master of Science


Aeronautics and Astronautics

Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Kathleen C. Howell

Additional Committee Member 2

Diane C. Davis

Additional Committee Member 3

James M. Longuski