Tube dynamics and low energy Earth–Moon transfers in the 4-body system

Kaori Onozaki, Hiroaki Yoshimura*, Shane D. Ross

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we show a low energy Earth–Moon transfer in the context of the Sun–Earth–Moon–spacecraft 4-body system. We consider the 4-body system as the coupled system of the Sun–Earth–spacecraft 3-body system perturbed by the Moon (which we call the Moon-perturbed system) and the Earth–Moon–spacecraft 3-body system perturbed by the Sun (which we call the Sun-perturbed system). In both perturbed systems, analogs of the stable and unstable manifolds are computed numerically by using the notion of Lagrangian coherent structures, wherein the stable and unstable manifolds play the role of separating orbits into transit and non-transit orbits. We obtain a family of non-transit orbits departing from a low Earth orbit in the Moon-perturbed system, and a family of transit orbits arriving into a low lunar orbit in the Sun-perturbed system. Finally, we show that we can construct a low energy transfer from the Earth to the Moon by choosing appropriate trajectories from both families and patching these trajectories with a maneuver.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2117-2132
Number of pages16
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov 15


  • 4-body system
  • Astrodynamics
  • Lagrangian coherent structures
  • Low energy transfer
  • Perturbed system
  • Tube dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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