Can a satellite maintain an equatorial orbit around Earth near the Moon's orbit to receive partial gravitational boosts by gaining momentum as the satellite passes though the Moon's gravity well?

I'm not asking about hanging out in the Lagrange points, but passing between the L2 point and the Moon or the Moon and Earth aligned, in a Moon assisted orbit.

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    $\begingroup$ What are some of these "many" types or orbit around the Earth? $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Jan 6, 2017 at 5:34
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    $\begingroup$ Muze - "an orbit...in parallel with the moon's orbit...pulled along by the moon's gravity..." Yes, you are talking about Lagrange points. $\endgroup$
    – Rory Alsop
    Jan 6, 2017 at 11:35
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    $\begingroup$ Agree with @RoryAlsop. Also, you seem to make the implicit assumption that there are no stable orbits around Earth outside the Moon's. (the "providing the force needed..." part). $\endgroup$
    – Alex
    Jan 6, 2017 at 15:04
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh is this better? $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Nov 4, 2018 at 2:54
  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting not to reopen, as the edits haven't changed your incorrect premise (that a satellite in orbit "needs propellant" to stay in that orbit), and you've introduced other unclear elements like "changing the artificial satellite center gravity" (what does that mean?). Ken G's answer and subsequent comments remain correct and should be sufficient for you. $\endgroup$ Nov 4, 2018 at 4:40

1 Answer 1


The Moon has a "Roche lobe", where the Moon's gravity dominates, and all you need for the situation you describe is that the Roche lobe lies physically outside the Moon. That will be true, because the Lagrange points are on the outside edge of that Roche lobe, and it's outside the Moon. The Moon's Roche lobe is shown here: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/Mechanics/lagpt.html

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    $\begingroup$ I don't understand, why does an object need to be sustained in Earth's orbit? Earth's gravity can do that all by itself. Basically, the Roche lobe geometry explains everything, how the Moon alters the orbits near the Earth, and how the Moon can sustain its own orbits near the Moon. $\endgroup$
    – Ken G
    Jan 6, 2017 at 4:50
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not following, an orbit is already eternal, in any of these idealizations. $\endgroup$
    – Ken G
    Jan 18, 2017 at 2:47

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