Using lunar swingbys and libration-point orbits to extend human exploration to Mars

John N. Kidd, Roberto Furfaro, David Dunham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


This paper will concentrate on one mission profile of particular interest, a manned mission to Mars. Specifically, the study will explore the use of HEOs whose line of apsides can be rotated using lunar swingbys to approximate the V vector necessary for such a mission, reducing the required energy cost of such a mission. The HEO also provides a convenient and relatively fast location for rendezvous with crew, or to add propulsion or cargo modules, a technique that we call "Phasing Orbit Rendezvous." From a HEO, a propulsive maneuver, considerably smaller than that needed from a circular low-Earth orbit, can be applied at the right perigee to send the spacecraft on the appropriate departure asymptote. A propulsive maneuver at perigee can be used to re-capture the spacecraft into a loosely-bound orbit at the return, perhaps assisted by a lunar swingby. Earth-Moon (and possibly Sun-Earth) libration point orbits and double-lunar swingby orbits will be used, along with time to change the orbital orientation between missions. There might be wait times of several months to years between missions, when the interplanetary spacecraft could be "parked" in a small-amplitude Lissajous orbit about a libration point, similar to that flown by the WMAP mission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances In The Astronautical Sciences
EditorsDonald L. Mackison, Ossama Abdelkhalik, Roby S. Wilson, Renato Zanetti
PublisherUnivelt Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780877036111
StatePublished - 2014
Event24th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, 2014 - Mexico, United States
Duration: Jan 26 2014Jan 30 2014

Publication series

NameAdvances in the Astronautical Sciences
ISSN (Print)0065-3438


Other24th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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