Vol 8, No 1

Periodic Orbits in Rotating Second Degree and Order Gravity Fields

Wei-Duo Hu, Daniel J. Scheeres


Abstract Periodic orbits in an arbitrary 2nd degree and order uniformly rotating gravity field are studied. We investigate the four equilibrium points in this gravity field. We see that close relation exists between the stability of these equilibria and the existence and stability of their nearby periodic orbits. We check the periodic orbits with non-zero periods. In our searching procedure for these periodic orbits, we remove the two unity eigenvalues from the state transition matrix to find a robust, non-singular linear map to solve for the periodic orbits. The algorithm converges well, especially for stable periodic orbits. Using the searching procedure, which is relatively automatic, we find five basic families of periodic orbits in the rotating second degree and order gravity field for planar motion, and discuss their existence and stability at different central body rotation rates.



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