Sun-Mars Libration Points and Mars Mission Simulations
Strizzi, Jon D.
Kutrieb, Joshua M.
Damphousse, Paul E.
Carrico, John P.
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The equilibrium points of the Sun-Mars system bring some unique characteristics to the discussion of future inner solar system exploration missions, particularly an expedition to Mars itself. Existing research has identified potential utility and data for Sun-Mars libration point missions, particularly for satellites orbiting the L₁ and L₂ points serving as Earth-Mars communication relays. Regarding these Lissajous orbits, we address questions of "Why go there?" "How to get there?" and "How to stay there?" Namely, we address utility and usefulness, transfer and injection, and stationkeeping. The restricted 3-body problem involving a spacecraft in that system is reviewed; and past and present research and proposals involving the use of these orbits are summarized and discussed. Baseline historical stationkeeping concepts (ISEE-3, SOHO, ACE) are reviewed and applied to the Sun-Mars system. We use Satellite Tool Kit (STK)/Astrogator for simulation and analysis of Earth-Mars transfers, Lissajous orbit insertions, and stationkeeping. The resulting data provides confirmation and insight for existing research and proposals, as well as new information on Mars transfer and Lissajous orbit insertion strategies to save ΔV, mission orbit amplitude dependencies on insertion method, and stationkeeping sensitivities. These data should prove useful to mission planners and concept developers for future Mars investigations.
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