Designing Transfers Between Earth-Moon Halo Orbits Using Manifolds and Optimization


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Virginia Tech


Being able to identify fuel efficient transfers between orbits is critical to planning and executing missions involving spacecraft. With a renewed focus on missions in cislunar space, identifying efficient transfers in the dynamical environment characterized by the Circular Restricted Three-Body Problem (CR3BP) will be especially important, both now and in the immediate future. The focus of this thesis is to develop a methodology that can be used to identify a valid low-cost transfer between a variety of orbits in the CR3BP. The approach consists of two distinct parts. First, tools related to dynamical systems theory and manifolds are used to create an initial set of possible transfers. An optimization scheme is then applied to the initial transfers to obtain an optimized set of transfers. Code was developed in MATLAB to implement and test this approach. The methodology and its implementation were evaluated by using the code to identify a low-cost transfer in three different transfer cases. For each transfer case, the best transfers from each set were compared, and important characteristics of the transfers in the first and final sets were examined. The results from those transfer cases were analyzed to determine the overall efficacy of the approach and effectiveness of the implementation code. In all three cases, in terms of cost and continuity characteristics, the best optimized transfers were noticeably different compared to the best manifold transfers. In terms of the transfer path identified, the best optimized and best manifold transfers were noticeably different for two of the three cases. Suggestions for improvements and other possible applications for the developed methodology were then identified and presented.



Transfers, Manifolds, Optimization, Halo Orbits, CR3BP