Orbital Dynamics of an Oscillating Sail in the Earth-Moon System

Jeannette Heiligers, M. Ceriotti

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The oscillating sail is a novel solar sail configuration where a triangular sail is released at a deflected angle with respect to the Sun-direction. As a result, the sail will conduct an undamped oscillating motion around the Sun-line due to the offset between the centre-of-pressure and centre-of-mass. In this paper, the resulting oscillatory motion of the acceleration vector is exploited to design new families of periodic orbits in the Earth-Moon circular restricted three-body system. In particular, the effect of adding an oscillating sail to the family of Lyapunov orbits at the L1- and L2-points as well as the family of distant retrograde orbits (DROs) is investigated. Because the solar sail Earth-Moon system is non-autonomous (due to the apparent orbital motion of the Sun), the sail’s oscillating period, the orbital period and the period of the Sun around the Earth-Moon system all need to be commensurable in order for the orbits to be repeatable over time. Using a differential correction technique, orbits that satisfy these constraints can be obtained and the results comprise new families of periodic orbits that are parameterised by the required sail performance. In addition to exploiting the oscillating sail for generating new orbit families, this paper also investigates its potential for orbital transfers. By combining a systematic search method with a local optimiser, oscillating sail parameters and orbital parameters can be obtained that enable transfers between classical Lyapunov orbits at the L1-point, connections between classical Lyapunov orbits at different Lagrange points as well as transfers between orbits within the family of classical DROs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on
Subtitle of host publicationKyoto, Japan, 17-20 Jan 2017
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event4th International Symposium on Solar Sailing - Kyoto Research Park, Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 17 Jan 201720 Jan 2017
Conference number: 4


Conference4th International Symposium on Solar Sailing
Abbreviated titleISSS 2017
Internet address

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