Delta-v requirements for earth co-orbital rendezvous missions

R. Greg Stacey, Martin Connors

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)822-829
Number of pages8
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jun. 2009


  • Asteroid
  • Co-orbital
  • Earth
  • Quasi-satellite
  • Rendezvous


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