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Multiple Sun–Earth Saddle Point flybys for LISA Pathfinder

Fabacher, Emilien and Kemble, Stephen and Trenkel, Christian and Dunbar, Neil Multiple Sun–Earth Saddle Point flybys for LISA Pathfinder. (2013) Advances in Space Research, 52 (1). 105-116. ISSN 0273-1177

(Document in English)

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.asr.2013.02.005


LISA Pathfinder is an ESA mission due to be launched in the next two years. The gravity gradiometer onboard has the sensitivity required to test predictions by gravitational theories proposed as alternatives to Dark Matter such as TeVeS. Within the Solar System measurable effects are predicted only in the vicinity of gravitational saddle points (SP). For this reason it has been proposed to fly LPF by the Earth–Sun SP, at some 259,000 km from Earth. This could be done in an extension to the nominal mission which uses a Lissajous orbit about the Earth–Sun L1 point. The responsibility for LPF mission design lies with ESA/ESOC, who have designed the transfer trajectories, orbits about L1, and station keeping strategies. This article describes an analysis performed by Astrium to support a suggestion for a possible mission extension to a saddle point crossing. With only very limited fuel availability, reaching the saddle point is a significant challenge. In this article, we present recent advances in the work on trajectory design. It is demonstrated that reaching the SP is feasible once the LPF mission is completed. Furthermore, in a significant enhancement, it is demonstrated that trajectories including more than one SP flyby are possible, thus improving the science return for this proposed mission extension.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to Elsevier editor. The definitive version is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com The original PDF of the article can be found at Advances in Space Research website: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/02731177/52/1
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:Other partners > EADS - Astrium (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace - ISAE-SUPAERO (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:27 Nov 2014 16:03

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