Mars interplanetary trajectory design via Lagrangian points

Research paper by Roshan Thomas Eapen, Ram Krishan Sharma

Indexed on: 21 Jun '14Published on: 21 Jun '14Published in: Astrophysics and Space Science


With the increase in complexities of interplanetary missions, the main focus has shifted to reducing the total delta-V for the entire mission and hence increasing the payload capacity of the spacecraft. This paper develops a trajectory to Mars using the Lagrangian points of the Sun-Earth system and the Sun-Mars system. The whole trajectory can be broadly divided into three stages: (1) Trajectory from a near-Earth circular parking orbit to a halo orbit around Sun-Earth Lagrangian point L2. (2) Trajectory from Sun-Earth L2 halo orbit to Sun-Mars L1 halo orbit. (3) Sun-Mars L1 halo orbit to a circular orbit around Mars. The stable and unstable manifolds of the halo orbits are used for halo orbit insertion. The intermediate transfer arcs are designed using two-body Lambert’s problem. The total delta-V for the whole trajectory is computed and found to be lesser than that for the conventional trajectories. For a 480 km Earth parking orbit, the total delta-V is found to be 4.6203 km/s. Another advantage in the present approach is that delta-V does not depend upon the synodic period of Earth with respect to Mars.