Delta-v Feasibility of Piggyback Lunar Transfers

Open Access
Shuford, Skyler M
Graduate Program:
Aerospace Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
December 11, 2015
Committee Members:
  • Dr David Spencer, Thesis Advisor
  • piggyback
  • iss
  • lunar transfer
  • orbit
  • cubesat
  • secondary payload
  • lunar capture
  • lunar insertion
This thesis presents the results of analysis to determine the feasibility of lunar missions as secondary, piggyback payloads. Piggyback missions are becoming increasingly common as lower cost options to space. It is shown that piggyback, flyby (or crash) lunar missions are feasible departing from the International Space Station (ISS) orbit, geosynchronous orbit (GEO), geotransfer orbit (GTO), and sun-synchronous orbit. Trajectories from GEO are feasible any time throughout the lunar period, with varying departure windows above 150° longitude. Trajectories from GTO have the lowest transfer ΔV with a minimum of 0.7 km/s and also large departure windows up to 200° longitude. Trajectories from GEO and GTO have similar required capture ΔV of about 2 km/s, although more analysis is necessary for optimality. Capture trajectories from ISS and sun-synchronous orbit may not be feasible with existing propulsion capabilities.