Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Aerospace Engineering Sciences

First Advisor

George H. Born

Second Advisor

Jeffrey S. Parker

Third Advisor

Brandon Jones

Fourth Advisor

Webster Cash

Fifth Advisor

Rodney Anderson


Techniques for low energy transfers have been applied to constructing trajectories to various locations in the solar system. Previous techniques have concentrated on orbit matching trajectory maneuvers and two-body transfers. This research investigates several strategies for low energy transfers that can be utilized to intersect desirable objects or locate to different equilibrium regions in the solar system. The principle tools utilized in this investigation stem from the three-body problem and the development of Lagrangian equilibrium points, periodic orbits and invariant manifolds. Another principle tool is the use of low thrust propulsion to develop low energy transfer trajectories utilizing long duration flight times. Of primary interest is the transfer to the Sun-Earth triangular equilibrium Lagrange points, commonly referred to as L4 and L5. Given the localized stability of these regions leading and trailing the Earth as it orbits the Sun, there is low cost to keep a spacecraft in these locations to perform scientific investigations. Of primary interest in the S-E L4/L5 regions is the study of small body Trojan asteroids and near Earth objects, stereoscopic solar observations, and various space weather and early warning solar storm detection. This research attempts to minimize the trajectory transfer cost in terms of velocity maneuver impacts.