Planning Missions from The Earth to the Moon with STK

I was happy to have had the opportunity to attend the CSCA-hosted Canadian Space Policy Conference at the University of Ottawa on 9 November. This event featured many of the ‘usual suspects’ in the Canadian space community including the CSA President Sylvain Laporte, Iain Christie from AIAC/Neptec, and the members of the Space Advisory Board (SAB).


While there was a fair amount of activity and discussion, one thing that stood out to me on the ‘future front’ was the outline of Canada’s intentions towards participating in the Deep Space Gateway, which is an ambitious new initiative to leverage cis-lunar space and the Moon to prepare for the longer human journey to Mars. The CSA sees Canada’s robotic technology again coming to the forefront in building/maintaining the Gateway.

Using STK to Support Lunar Mission Operations

Apparently, there are plans for the Gateway to assume a Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit which is shown here below:

Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbitweb2

Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit Modeled in STK


Over the years, AGI technology like STK has been heavily-employed in modeling the International Space Station (ISS) and other visiting objects:

ISS-Docking Video –

And, if you would like to review a video on how to employ STK to create a lunar trajectory:

STK Astrogator and Lunar B-Plane Targeting – . Here is a NASA Artemis case study describing the use of STK to model unusual orbits in the Earth-Moon system, and in particular the Lagrange Libration points.

This NASA LADEE Flight Dynamics case study is an example of modeling a lunar satellite which was used to measure and characterize the very thin Lunar atmosphere.

**NEW**  STK version 11.3’s Orbit Wizard tool will allow the creation of orbit types around non-Earth bodies (go to to download now)!