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The Earth-Moon System as a Dynamical Laboratory

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Front. Astron. Space Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fspas.2018.00045

Rendezvous strategies in the vicinity of Earth-Moon Lagrangian points

  • 1DCAS, Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace (ISAE-SUPAERO), France
  • 2Politecnico di Milano, Italy

In the context of Human Spaceflight exploration mission scenario, with the Lunar Orbital Platform- Gateway (LOP-G) orbiting about Earth-Moon Lagrangian Point (EML), Rendezvous and Docking (RVD) operational activities are mandatory and critical for the deployment and utilization of the LOP-G (station assembly, crew rotations, cargo delivery, lunar sample return).
There is extensive experience with RVD in the two-body problem: in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to various space stations, or around quasi-circular Low Lunar Orbits (LLO), the latter by Apollo by means of manual RVD. However, the RVD problem in non-Keplerian environments has rarely been addressed and no RVD has been performed to this date in the vicinity of Lagrangian points (LP) where Keplerian dynamics are no longer applicable. Dynamics in such regions are more complex, but multi-body dynamics also come with strong advantages that need to be further researched by the work proposed here.
The aim of this paper is to present methods and results of investigations conducted to first set up strategies for far and close rendezvous between a target (the LOP-G, for example) and a chaser (cargo, crew vehicle, ascent and descent vehicle, station modules, etc.) depending on target and chaser orbit. Semi-analytical tools have been developed to compute and model families of orbits about the Lagrangian points in the Circular Restricted Three Body Problem (CR3BP) like NRHO, DRO, Lyapunov, Halo and Lissajous orbits. As far as close rendezvous is concerned, implementation of different linear and non-linear models used to describe cis-lunar relative motion will be discussed and compared, in particular for NRHO and DRO.

Keywords: rendezvous, trajectory, CR3BP, Earth-Moon system, Relative motion, Lagrangian points

Received: 26 Feb 2018; Accepted: 05 Dec 2018.

Edited by:

Elisa Maria Alessi, Italian National Research Council, Italy

Reviewed by:

Francesco Topputo, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Fabio Ferrari, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), United States
Maksim Shirobokov, Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics (RAS), Russia  

Copyright: © 2018 Lizy-Destrez, Campolo and MANGLAVITI. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: MD, PhD. Stéphanie Lizy-Destrez, Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace (ISAE-SUPAERO), DCAS, Toulouse, 31055, France,