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Expanding Interplanetary Transfer Opportunities from Geostationary Transfer Orbits via Earth Synchronous Orbits

Ito, Daichi; Pushparaj, Nishanth; Kawakatsu, Yasuhiro


Daichi Ito

Yasuhiro Kawakatsu


Geostationary transfer orbits (GTOs) are geocentric orbits widely considered for kick-stage operations of satellites for deep space missions. A piggyback spacecraft departing from GTOs requires a low transfer cost. The type of GTO and launch timings of piggyback missions, on the other hand, are typically determined by the primary mission that carried the piggyback spacecraft. This research introduces a new transfer strategy that coordinates piggyback spacecraft’s departure timing from Earth to deep space via an Earth synchronous orbit (ESO) after departure from a GTO. It also enables the spacecraft to change its velocity direction by introducing Earth gravity assists. Connecting several GTOs and interplanetary trajectories via ESOs reduces the ΔV required for the transfers. It leads to using transfer opportunities previously considered unsuitable for missions or miniaturizing the kick motor. As a result, ESOs allow for a broader launch opportunity for deep space piggyback probes. In addition, the feasibility of ESOs is shown numerically by comparing direct and ESO-assisted transfers from GTOs to Mars with the required ΔV.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 3, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 29, 2022
Publication Date Aug 29, 2022
Deposit Date Sep 21, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 29, 2022
Journal Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Print ISSN 0022-4650
Electronic ISSN 1533-6794
Publisher American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 60
Issue 1
Pages 79-94
Keywords Space and Planetary Science; Aerospace Engineering
Public URL
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