Natural deep space satellite constellation in the Earth-Moon elliptic system

Hao Peng, Xiaoli Bai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In this paper, natural deep space satellite constellations designs in the Earth-Moon system are presented, where the underlying dynamics model is the Elliptic Restricted Three-Body Problem (ERTBP) model. The ERTBP has taken into account the eccentricity of the Earth-Moon system. Therefore, the generated motion will be more realistic than that in the Circular Restricted Three-Body Problem (CRTBP) due to the relatively large eccentricity of the Earth-Moon system (about 0.0554). First, a type of strictly periodic orbit, Multi-revolution Elliptic Halo (ME-Halo) orbit, around the L2 libration point in the Earth-Moon ERTBP is presented, generated through the continuation method starting from the conventional Halo orbits in the CRTBP. It is discovered that there are only a limited number of ME-Halo orbits that are practically useful, which restricts the mission design of a natural satellite constellation. Next, four different types of constellations consisting of the ME-Halo orbit, which are the focus on this paper, are presented and discussed. These configurations exist in the ERTBP and are nonautonomous. At last, the nominal ME-Halo orbit is analyzed with respect to the high-fidelity ephemeris model, which preliminarily validates that the nominal ME-Halo orbit is suitable for deep space constellation design, as it approximates the real Earth-Moon system with good accuracy. The results in this paper provide new natural satellite constellation options in the Earth-Moon system, which have different features through combining various ME-Halo orbits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-258
Number of pages19
JournalActa Astronautica
StatePublished - Dec 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


  • Deep space satellite constellation
  • Earth-Moon system
  • Elliptic restricted three-body problem
  • Multi-revolution elliptic Halo orbit


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