Low earth orbit constellation design using the earth-moon L1 point

Naomi Chow, Erica Gralla, James Chase, N. J. Kasdin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Over the last decade, there has been a growing interest in the development of low earth orbit (LEO) microsatellite constellations for commercial, strategic, and scientific purposes. High costs present a major obstacle to the development of such constellations; launch costs, in particular, may represent as much as 40% of the life-cycle cost. Deployment of satellites into different orbital planes generally requires separate launch vehicles, so several smaller launches are required for a single constellation. We propose to reduce costs by using a single large launch vehicle to carry an entire fleet of microsatellites to the Earth-Moon L1 Lagrange point. By taking advantage of the complex dynamical behavior at this location, the microsatellites can be returned to multiple Earth orbital planes via aerocapture, using minimal δV. This paper presents a proof of concept and feasibility assessment of such a system, demonstrating 38% cost savings for a baseline mission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberAAS 04-248
Pages (from-to)2277-2294
Number of pages18
JournalAdvances in the Astronautical Sciences
Issue numberSUPPL.
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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