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More than one century ago, the theory of orbits went through an important qualitative change when Bruns and then Poincaré (see ) proved by means of several methods and hypotheses that the three body problem has no more first integrals apart from the ten classical ones. Since then, great progress has been made in the knowledge of the behaviour of such non-integrable systems (including chaos), as well as in the methods which allow us to investigate the non-integrability. A panorama of the evolution of the ideas and results concerning the study of problems of several bodies can be found in the usual treatises - for instance, see  or .
However, questions about non-integrability of problems of satellites of external bodies remained open till this decade. Irigoyen and Simó  published the first result along this line, proving that the main problem of the satellite of an oblate primary, or J2-problem, was not completely integrable through meromorphic integrals. The proof was based on some theorems by Ziglin  and Yoshida , which will be commented on briefly in section 2. Later, an analogous method allowed Ferrándiz and Sansaturio  to establish that the J22-problem did not have a complete system of first integrals. Such integrals were supposed to be rational since, in three dimensions, the non-integrability according to Ziglin depends on a condition of rational independence of the eigenvalues of certain matrices which does not allow us to use the continuity arguments as happens in dimension 2.
In , the present authors set up the non-integrability through meromorphic integrals of the truncation of the zonal satellite problem at any order. Then in , we solved the case in which the perturbation was an arbitrary sectorial harmonic and established that the main satellite problem, or (J2+J22)-problem, is not completely integrable either.
In this paper we gather together the above mentioned results, either with much briefer proofs or by generalizing them.