Strategies for plane change of Earth orbits using lunar gravity and derived trajectories of family G
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The dynamics of the circular restricted three-body Earth-Moon-particle problem predicts the existence of the retrograde periodic orbits around the Lagrangian equilibrium point L1. Such orbits belong to the so-called family G (Broucke, Periodic orbits in the restricted three-body problem with Earth-Moon masses, JPL Technical Report 32-1168, 1968) and starting from them it is possible to define a set of trajectories that form round trip links between the Earth and the Moon. These links occur even with more complex dynamical systems as the complete Sun-Earth-Moon-particle problem. One of the most remarkable properties of these trajectories, observed for the four-body problem, is a meaningful inclination gain when they penetrate into the lunar sphere of influence and accomplish a swing-by with the Moon. This way, when one of these trajectories returns to the proximities of the Earth, it will be in a different orbital plane from its initial Earth orbit. In this work, we present studies that show the possibility of using this property mainly to accomplish transfer maneuvers between two Earth orbits with different altitudes and inclinations, with low cost, taking into account the dynamics of the four-body problem and of the swing-by as well. The results show that it is possible to design a set of nominal transfer trajectories that require Delta V (Total) less than conventional methods like Hohmann, bi-elliptic and bi-parabolic transfer with plane change.