Cislunar Space is All the Rage Right Now

  • May 18, 2020
  • Article

If you’re in the space biz, you’ve probably noticed that cislunar space – the region of space between the Earth and the moon -- is all the rage right now. Between NASA’s plans to return to the moon and build a lunar Gateway outpost, commercial activities expanding beyond GEO, and increasing military interest in cislunar space domain awareness and operations, cislunar is a hot topic!

Luckily for you, your friends at AGI have you covered when it comes to modeling, analyzing, and visualizing cislunar missions. Here are a few ways our software helps you tackle cislunar problems:

Accuracy! STK gives you the ability to perform high fidelity orbit propagation. When TLEs just won’t cut it (hint: they won’t work for cislunar trajectories), our customizable force models and numerical methods include all relevant forces acting on your satellite.

Analysis! Trajectory design for lunar and libration point missions often start with a dynamical systems model, which trades high fidelity for useful mathematical solutions of the three body problem. In support of this, we’ve added a native implementation of the Circular Restricted Three Body Problem (CR3BP) -- new in STK 11.7! Check out this this video to learn more.

Beyond trajectory design, STK can be used to model other aspects of your cislunar mission – including things such as link analysis, EOIR payload simulations, or environmental effects.

Visualization! If a picture is worth 1,000 words, trajectory graphics shown in multiple reference frames are worth at least 5,000. It is easy to display orbits in different reference frames in STK. By default, orbits are shown in an inertial frame. But just as it’s useful to show geosynchronous orbits in an Earth fixed frame, it’s convenient to display your L1 halo orbit in the barycentric rotating reference frame. (By the way, STK also allows you to create virtually any point, axis, or coordinate system you can dream up!)

These are just a sampling of the ways STK can help you tackle your cislunar problems. Reach out to us to learn more!


Shannon Schilling