A Caltech Library Service

Constructing a Low Energy Transfer Between Jovian Moons

Koon, Wang S. and Lo, Martin W. and Marsden, Jerrold E. and Ross, Shane D. (2001) Constructing a Low Energy Transfer Between Jovian Moons. Contemporary Mathematics, 292 . pp. 129-146. ISSN 0271-4132.

PDF - Accepted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


There has recently been considerable interest in sending a spacecraft to orbit Europa, the smallest of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter. The trajectory design involved in effecting a capture by Europa presents formidable challenges to traditional conic analysis since the regimes of motion involved depend heavily on three-body dynamics. New three-body perspectives are required to design successful and efficient missions which take full advantage of the natural dynamics. Not only does a three-body approach provide low-fuel trajectories, but it also increases the flexibility and versatility of missions. We apply this approach to design a new mission concept wherein a spacecraft "leap-frogs" between moons, orbiting each for a desired duration in a temporary capture orbit. We call this concept the "Petit Grand Tour." For this application, we apply dynamical systems techniques developed in a previous paper to design a Europa capture orbit. We show how it is possible, using a gravitional boost from Ganymede, to go from a jovicentric orbit beyond the orbit of Ganymede to a ballistic capture orbit around Europa. The main new technical result is the employment of dynamical channels in the phase space - tubes in the energy surface which naturally link the vicinity of Ganymede to the vicinity of Europa. The transfer V necessary to jump from one moon to another is less than half that required by a standard Hohmann transfer.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:© 2002. August 1, 2000. We thank Gerard Gόmez and Josep Masdemont for sharing their wonderful software tools. The name "Petit Grand Tour" was suggested by Nelson Carter, JPL Documentation Services. This work was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In addition, the work was partially supported by the Caltech President's fund, the NASA Advanced Concepts Research Program, The Ltool Project, and NSF grant KDI/ATM-9873133.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Caltech President's FundUNSPECIFIED
NASA Advanced Concepts Research ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100820-081432003
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:19540
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:20 Aug 2010 19:57
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 01:58

Repository Staff Only: item control page