New Numerical and Computational Methods Leveraging Dynamical Systems Theory for Multi-Body Astrodynamics

Dissertation Defense
Wednesday, April 20, 2022 - 12:30pm for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 005 and ONLINE
Bhanu Kumar – Georgia Tech – bkumar30@gatech.edu
Bhanu Kumar

Online link:

Many proposed interplanetary space missions, including Europa Lander and Dragonfly, involve trajectory design in environments where multiple large bodies exert gravitational influence on the spacecraft, such as the Jovian and Saturnian systems as well as cislu- nar space. In these contexts, an analysis based on the mathematical theory of dynamical systems provides both better insight as well as new tools to use for the mission design compared to classic two-body Keplerian methods. Indeed, a rich variety of dynamical phenomena manifest themselves in such systems, including libration point dynamics, stable and unstable mean-motion resonances, and chaos. To understand the previously mentioned dynamical behaviors, invariant manifolds such as periodic orbits, quasi-periodic invariant tori, and stable/unstable manifolds are the major objects whose interactions govern the local and global dynamics of relevant celestial systems.

This work is focused on the development of numerical methodologies for computing such invariant manifolds and investigating their interactions. After a study of persistence of mean-motion resonances in the planar circular restricted 3-body problem (PCRTBP), techniques for computing the stable/unstable manifolds attached to resonant periodic orbits and heteroclinics corresponding to resonance transitions are presented. Next, I will focus on the development of accurate and efficient parameterization methods for numerical calculation of whiskered quasi-periodic tori and their attached stable/unstable manifolds, for periodically-forced PCRTBP models. As part of this, a method for Levi- Civita regularization of such periodically-forced systems is introduced. Finally, I present methods for combining the previously mentioned parameterizations with knowl- edge of the objects’ internal dynamics, collision detection algorithms, and GPU computing to very rapidly compute propellant-free heteroclinic connecting trajectories between them, even in higher dimensional models. Such heteroclinics are key to the generation of chaos and large scale transport in astrodynamical systems.