STUDIO PRELIMINARE DI MISSIONI SPAZIALI CON MODELLI A TRE CORPI

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The study of space missions through models more accurate then a two body model has received a considerable impulse within the scientific community in the last decade. A scheme in which two larger masses determine the motion of a spacecraft which does not modify their gravitational field can be considered satisfactory for the study of a variety of space vehicle trajectories. The possibilities offered by this kind of approach span far beyond the range of the traditional keplerian approach and enable conceiving new types of mission. The present thesis deals with the restricted three body problem, its formulation and its solutions. The different types of trajectories that can be identified by this approach are analysed and the tools that can be used for practical mission implementation are illustrated. In the first part of this work the restricted three body problem is analysed from a theoretical point of view. The steps through which mission design tools can be derived from such a theoretical background are then reviewed. A revised formulation of mathematical results that can be obtained from the theory is presented and the applicability of such results to various missions of potential interest is discussed. Software tools that can be used to describe the theoretically determined space structures, periodic solutions and, in general, for a practical implementation of the theory are described. The second part deals more directly with applications with an inherent three-body character and which could not be designed otherwise. In particular, different possibilities of Earth-Moon transfer, both chemical and hybrid, periodic orbits around the equilibrium points of the three body system and transfer trajectories to and from such orbits are examined in detail.