Impulsive time-free transfers between halo orbits

Research paper by L. A. Hiday-Johnston, K. C. Howell

Indexed on: 01 Dec '96Published on: 01 Dec '96Published in: Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy


A methodology is developed to design optimal time-free impulsive transfers between three-dimensional halo orbits in the vicinity of the interior L1 libration point of the Sun-Earth/Moon barycenter system. The transfer trajectories are optimal in the sense that the total characteristic velocity required to implement the transfer exhibits a local minimum. Criteria are established whereby the implementation of a coast in the initial orbit, a coast in the final orbit, or dual coasts accomplishes a reduction in fuel expenditure. The optimality of a reference two-impulse transfer can be determined by examining the slope at the endpoints of a plot of the magnitude of the primer vector on the reference trajectory. If the initial and final slopes of the primer magnitude are zero, the transfer trajectory is optimal; otherwise, the execution of coasts is warranted. The optimal time of flight on the time-free transfer, and consequently, the departure and arrival locations on the halo orbits are determined by the unconstrained minimization of a function of two variables using a multivariable search technique. Results indicate that the cost can be substantially diminished by the allowance for coasts in the initial and final libration-point orbits.