Simulation of Lagrangian point orbits using Python


Simulation of Lagrangian point orbits using Python



Hunter Reed Johnston


This poster reflects research conducted as part of a course project designed to give students experience in the research process.



The study of Lagrangian points, also known as libration points, has become a focus of much astrodynamical research, with possible uses for low-thrust trajectory optimization for a plethora of spacecraft missions. Lagrangian points are positions in any orbital configuration of two large bodies (ie. Earth and Moon) where a small object can maintain a stable position in relation to the larger bodies. A few planets in our solar system have natural satellites orbiting these points and in the Earth-Moon system, artificial satellites have been placed in libration point orbits for a variety of purposes. To utilize these orbits and study these 3-body problems, simulations are very useful in visualizing the three-dimensional, quasi-periodic orbits. This research looks to model satellite orbits around these Lagrangian points using Python programming language to predict position and velocity of the object relative to the Lagrangian point fixed coordinate system. Using Python’s plethora of visual graphics packages, the three-dimensional, quasi-period nature of the orbits will be effectively modeled and displayed to produce a greater understanding of the nature of these types of orbits.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project - Undergraduate

Primary Advisor

Ivan Sudakov

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

Simulation of Lagrangian point orbits using Python