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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2013, Article ID 182079, 7 pages
Research Article

Dynamics of Artificial Satellites around Europa

1Instituto de Ciência e Tecnologia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), 12.331-280 São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil
2Division of Space Mechanics and Control, INPE, 12.227-010 São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil

Received 22 October 2012; Revised 21 December 2012; Accepted 2 January 2013

Academic Editor: Silvia Maria Giuliatti Winter

Copyright © 2013 Jean Paulo dos Santos Carvalho et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A planetary satellite of interest at the present moment for the scientific community is Europa, one of the four largest moons of Jupiter. There are some missions planned to visit Europa in the next years, for example, Jupiter Europa Orbiter (JEO, NASA) and Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE, ESA). In this paper, we search for orbits around Europa with long lifetimes. Here, we develop the disturbing potential in closed form up to the second order to analyze the effects caused on the orbital elements of an artificial satellite around Europa. The equations of motion are developed in closed form to avoid expansions in power series of the eccentricity and inclination. We found polar orbits with long lifetimes. This type of orbits reduces considerably the maintenance cost of the orbit. We show a formula to calculate the critical inclination of orbits around Europa taking into account the disturbing potential due to the nonspherical shape of the central body and the perturbation of the third body.