Earth co-orbital asteroids present advantages as potential targets for future asteroid rendezvous missions. Their prolonged proximity to Earth facilitates communication, while their Earth-like orbits mean a steady flux of solar power and no significant periodic heating and cooling of the spacecraft throughout the course of the mission. Theoretical studies show that low-inclination co-orbital orbits are more stable than high-inclination orbits. As inclination is the most significant indicator of low delta-v rendezvous orbits, there is the potential for a large population of easily accessible asteroids, with favorable engineering requirements. This study first looks at phase-independent rendezvous orbits to a large number of objects, then looks in more detail at the phase-dependent orbits to the most favorable objects. While rendezvous orbits to co-orbital objects do not have a low delta-v necessarily, some objects present energy requirements significantly less than previous rendezvous missions. Currently we find no ideal co-orbital asteroids for rendezvous missions, although theoretical Earth Trojans present very low-energy requirements for rendezvous.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Planetary and Space Science|
|Publication status||Published - Jun. 2009|