Transfer orbit

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In orbital mechanics, a transfer orbit is an intermediate elliptical orbit that is used to move a spacecraft from one circular, or largely circular, orbit to another.

There are several types of transfer orbits, which vary in their energy efficiency and speed of transfer. These include:

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Hohmann transfer orbit Elliptical orbit used to transfer between two orbits of different altitudes, in the same plane

In orbital mechanics, the Hohmann transfer orbit is an elliptical orbit used to transfer between two circular orbits of different radii around a central body in the same plane. The Hohmann transfer often uses the lowest possible amount of propellant in traveling between these orbits, but bi-elliptic transfers can use less in some cases.

Orbital mechanics Field of classical mechanics concerned with the motion of spacecraft

Orbital mechanics or astrodynamics is the application of ballistics and celestial mechanics to the practical problems concerning the motion of rockets and other spacecraft. The motion of these objects is usually calculated from Newton's laws of motion and law of universal gravitation. Orbital mechanics is a core discipline within space-mission design and control.

Interplanetary Transport Network Collection of gravitationally determined pathways through the Solar System

The Interplanetary Transport Network (ITN) is a collection of gravitationally determined pathways through the Solar System that require very little energy for an object to follow. The ITN makes particular use of Lagrange points as locations where trajectories through space can be redirected using little or no energy. These points have the peculiar property of allowing objects to orbit around them, despite lacking an object to orbit. While it would use little energy, transport along the network would take a long time.

Orbital speed

In gravitationally bound systems, the orbital speed of an astronomical body or object is the speed at which it orbits around either the barycenter or, if one object is much more massive than the other bodies in the system, its speed relative to the center of mass of the most massive body..

A geocentric orbit or Earth orbit involves any object orbiting the Earth, such as the Moon or artificial satellites. In 1997 NASA estimated there were approximately 2,465 artificial satellite payloads orbiting the Earth and 6,216 pieces of space debris as tracked by the Goddard Space Flight Center. Over 16,291 previously launched objects have decayed into the Earth's atmosphere.

Delta-<i>v</i> budget

In astrodynamics and aerospace, a delta-v budget is an estimate of the total change in velocity (delta-v) required for a space mission. It is calculated as the sum of the delta-v required to perform each propulsive maneuver needed during the mission. As input to the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation, it determines how much propellant is required for a vehicle of given mass and propulsion system.

In spaceflight, an orbital maneuver is the use of propulsion systems to change the orbit of a spacecraft. For spacecraft far from Earth an orbital maneuver is called a deep-space maneuver (DSM).

Elliptic orbit Kepler orbit with an eccentricity of less than one

In astrodynamics or celestial mechanics, an elliptic orbit or elliptical orbit is a Kepler orbit with an eccentricity of less than 1; this includes the special case of a circular orbit, with eccentricity equal to 0. In a stricter sense, it is a Kepler orbit with the eccentricity greater than 0 and less than 1. In a wider sense, it is a Kepler's orbit with negative energy. This includes the radial elliptic orbit, with eccentricity equal to 1.

Flight dynamics (spacecraft) Application of mechanical dynamics to model the flight of space vehicles

Spacecraft flight dynamics is the application of mechanical dynamics to model how the external forces acting on a space vehicle or spacecraft determine its flight path. These forces are primarily of three types: propulsive force provided by the vehicle's engines; gravitational force exerted by the Earth and other celestial bodies; and aerodynamic lift and drag.

Hiten 1990 Japanese lunar probe

The Hiten spacecraft, given the English name Celestial Maiden and known before launch as MUSES-A, part of the MUSES Program, was built by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science of Japan and launched on January 24, 1990. It was Japan's first lunar probe, the first robotic lunar probe since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 in 1976, and the first lunar probe launched by a country other than the Soviet Union or the United States. The spacecraft was named after flying heavenly beings in Buddhism.

Heliocentric orbit

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Bi-elliptic transfer

In astronautics and aerospace engineering, the bi-elliptic transfer is an orbital maneuver that moves a spacecraft from one orbit to another and may, in certain situations, require less delta-v than a Hohmann transfer maneuver.

In astronomy, the variation of the Moon is one of the principal perturbations in the motion of the Moon.

Free-return trajectory Trajectory when an object launched from a body is returned to it by gravity from another body

In orbital mechanics, a free-return trajectory is a trajectory of a spacecraft traveling away from a primary body where gravity due to a secondary body causes the spacecraft to return to the primary body without propulsion.

Lunar orbit Orbit of an object around the Moon

In astronomy, lunar orbit is the orbit of an object around the Moon.

Low-energy transfer

A low-energy transfer, or low-energy trajectory, is a route in space that allows spacecraft to change orbits using very little fuel. These routes work in the Earth–Moon system and also in other systems, such as between the moons of Jupiter. The drawback of such trajectories is that they take longer to complete than higher-energy (more-fuel) transfers, such as Hohmann transfer orbits.

Apogee kick motor Type of rocket motor

An apogee kick motor (AKM) is a rocket motor that is regularly employed on artificial satellites to provide the final impulse to change the trajectory from the transfer orbit into its final orbit. For a satellite launched from the Earth, the rocket firing is done at the highest point of the transfer orbit, known as the apogee.

Ballistic capture is a low energy method for a spacecraft to achieve an orbit around a distant planet or moon. Prior to ballistic capture, spacecraft would use a method called Hohmann transfer orbit, this requires the spacecraft to burn fuel in order to slow down at the distant planet. The requirement to carry fuel across space adds to the cost and complexity of the craft.