Masters Theses


"In this study, the feasibility of using libration point orbits to explore small solar system bodies, including asteroids and comets, is considered. A novel design for a small body mission is proposed that makes use of libration point orbits as "parking" orbits. In considering a human exploration mission to asteroids or comets, these "parking" orbits may provide benefits including a safe vantage point for staging/observation, reduced perturbation effects from the nonuniform gravitational field of the body, fewer communication blackouts, ease of guidance and control of a lander on the surface, etc. Because small solar system bodies have extremely low mass ratios in the Sun-small body system, the existence of periodic orbits about the collinear libration points at a safe distance from the smaller primary was uncertain and is demonstrated for a range of small bodies. A two-level differential corrector along with periodicity constraints is proposed for use in computing periodic orbits in the vicinity of the small bodies with significant eccentricity in the Elliptic Restricted Three-Body Problem. Using this method, halo-like orbits are computed in the Sun-433 Eros and Sun-4 Vesta systems. The stability of these orbits is analyzed using Floquet theory. To overcome the effects of perturbations in these unstable orbits, a robust nonlinear station-keeping controller based on sliding mode control theory is proposed. The controller performance is validated in the presence of third-body perturbations from Jupiter, solar radiation pressure perturbations, tracking errors, orbit insertion errors and maneuver burn errors in the Sun-433 Eros and Sun-4 Vesta systems. Simulation results are presented that show that the small body missions can be designed using libration point orbits with feasible station-keeping costs"--Abstract, page iii.


Pernicka, Hank
Balakrishnan, S. N.

Committee Member(s)

Rovey, Joshua L.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Aerospace Engineering


Missouri University of Science and Technology. Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Fall 2013


x, 97 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 129-135).


© 2013 Bharat Mahajan, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Subject Headings

Three-body problem
Lagrangian points
Perturbation (Astronomy)
Differentiable dynamical systems

Thesis Number

T 10409

Electronic OCLC #