Frozen orbits at high eccentricity and inclination: application to Mercury orbiter

Nicolas Delsate, P. Robutel, Anne Lemaître, Timoteo Carletti

Research output: Book/Report/JournalOther report


We hereby study the stability of a massless probe orbiting around an oblate central body (planet or planetary satellite) perturbed by a third body, assumed to lie in the equatorial plane (Sun or Jupiter for example) using an Hamiltonian formalism. We are able to determine, in the parameters space, the location of the frozen orbits, namely orbits whose orbital elements remain constant on average, to characterize their stability/unstability and to compute the periods of the equilibria. The proposed theory is general enough, to be applied to a wide range of probes around planet or natural planetary satellites. The BepiColombo mission is used to motivate our analysis and to provide specific numerical data to check our analytical results. Finally, we also bring to the light that the coefficient $J_2$ is able to protect against the increasing of the eccentricity due to the Kozai-Lidov effect.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNamur
PublisherFUNDP, Faculté des Sciences. Département de Mathématique.
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Methods: analytical study
  • Stability
  • Long-term evolution
  • Kozai resonances
  • Frozen Orbit equilibria


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