A Caltech Library Service

Parking a Spacecraft near an Asteroid Pair

Gabern, Frederic and Koon, Wang S. and Marsden, Jerrold E. (2006) Parking a Spacecraft near an Asteroid Pair. Journal of Guidance Control and Dynamics, 29 (3). pp. 544-553. ISSN 0731-5090.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


This paper studies the dynamics of a spacecraft moving in the field of a binary asteroid. The asteroid pair is modeled as a rigid body and a sphere moving in a plane, while the spacecraft moves in space under the influence of the gravitational field of the asteroid pair, as well as that of the sun. This simple model captures the coupling between rotational and translational dynamics. By assuming that the binary dynamics is in a relative equilibrium, a restricted model for the spacecraft in orbit about them is constructed that also includes the direct effect of the sun on the spacecraft dynamics. The standard restricted three-body problem (RTBP) is used as a starting point for the analysis of the spacecraft motion. We investigate how the triangular points of the RTBP are modified through perturbations by taking into account two perturbations, namely, that one of the primaries is no longer a point mass but is an extended rigid body, and second, taking into account the effect of orbiting the sun. The stable zones near the modified triangular equilibrium points of the binary and a normal form of the Hamiltonian around them are used to compute stable periodic and quasi-periodic orbits for the spacecraft, which enable it to observe the asteroid pair while the binary orbits around the sun.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:© 2005 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. Received 15 December 2004; revision received 29 March 2005; accepted for publication 29 March 2005. The authors thank Daniel J. Scheeres for interesting discussions and comments. This research was partially supported by the California Institute of Technology President’s Fund and NSF-ITR Grant ACI-0204932. Gabern acknowledges the support of the Fulbright– GenCat postdoctoral program, the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology Grant BFM2003-07521-C02-01, and the Catalan Government CIRIT Grant 2001SGR–70.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Caltech President’s FundUNSPECIFIED
NSF- Information Technology Research (ITR)ACI-0204932
Fulbright-GenCat postdoctoral programUNSPECIFIED
Spanish Ministry of Science and TechnologyBFM2003-07521-C02-01
Catalan Government CIRIT2001SGR–70
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20101005-075909228
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:20288
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:16 Nov 2010 23:38
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 02:07

Repository Staff Only: item control page