Investigating non-Keplerian dynamics around Psyche

Performed at NASA JPL

Psyche (Image credits: NASA)

Non-Keplerian dynamics are useful to accurately reproduce the irregular gravity field and other perturbations around small Solar System bodies such as Psyche, the target of the Psyche Discovery mission. However, these non-Keplerian dynamics could dramatically complicate the mission design process of science operations around Psyche. In particular, the attitude-orbit coupled dynamics induced by solar radiation pressure (SRP) and gravitational torque would make the process significantly complicated.

This project intends to investigate the effect of solar perturbations on orbits around Psyche. In addition, exploiting the particular irregular gravity field of Psyche and SRP force will be considered to design convenient orbital paths around Psyche. The hope is to be able to change some orbital elements for free and decrease the propellant requirements of the orbital maintenance and transfers.