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This sort of spacecraft is known as a "cycler".

You hit on the problem with it: you have to match its trajectory/velocity exactly in order to dock with it, so if you can reach the cycler, you could already reach the cycler's destination.

There's no slowing down of the cycler for the same reason. In principle, if you connected to the cycler with a very elastic tether, you could borrow velocity from it, but that's completely impractical.

The potential advantage of the cycler is that it can provide space and non-consumable amenities for the journey, thus saving mass on the shuttle that rides the cycler. That's not a huge win for translunar flight, where it's only a 3-5 day trip each way, but for e.g. routine flights between Earth and Mars, it's more attractive. The mothership Hermes in "The Martian" is acting as an Earth-Mars cycler, though that wasn't its original mission design.

This sort of spacecraft is known as a "cycler".

You hit on the problem with it: you have to match its trajectory/velocity exactly in order to dock with it, so if you can reach the cycler, you could already reach the cycler's destination.

There's no slowing down of the cycler for the same reason. In principle, if you connected to the cycler with a very elastic tether, you could borrow velocity from it, but that's completely impractical.

The potential advantage of the cycler is that it can provide space and non-consumable amenities for the journey, thus saving mass on the shuttle that rides the cycler. That's not a huge win for translunar flight, where it's only a 3-5 day trip each way, but for e.g. routine flights between Earth and Mars, it's more attractive. The mothership in "The Martian" is acting as an Earth-Mars cycler.

This sort of spacecraft is known as a "cycler".

You hit on the problem with it: you have to match its trajectory/velocity exactly in order to dock with it, so if you can reach the cycler, you could already reach the cycler's destination.

There's no slowing down of the cycler for the same reason. In principle, if you connected to the cycler with a very elastic tether, you could borrow velocity from it, but that's completely impractical.

The potential advantage of the cycler is that it can provide space and non-consumable amenities for the journey, thus saving mass on the shuttle that rides the cycler. That's not a huge win for translunar flight, where it's only a 3-5 day trip each way, but for e.g. routine flights between Earth and Mars, it's more attractive. The mothership Hermes in "The Martian" is acting as an Earth-Mars cycler, though that wasn't its original mission design.

3 added 9 characters in body
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This sort of spacecraft is known as a "cycler".

You hit on the problem with it: you have to match its trajectory/velocity exactly in order to dock with it, so if you can reach the cycler, you could already reach the cycler's destination.

There's no slowing down of the cycler for the same reason. In principle, if you connected to the cycler with a very elastic tether, you could borrow velocity from it, but that's completely impractical.

The potential advantage of the cycler is that it can provide space and non-consumable amenities for the journey, thus saving mass on the shuttle that rides the cycler. That's not a huge win for translunar flight, where it's only a 3-5 day trip each way, but for e.g. routine flights between Earth and Mars, it's more attractive. The mothership in "The Martian" wasis acting as an Earth-Mars cycler.

This sort of spacecraft is known as a "cycler".

You hit on the problem with it: you have to match its trajectory/velocity exactly in order to dock with it, so if you can reach the cycler, you could already reach the cycler's destination.

There's no slowing down of the cycler for the same reason. In principle, if you connected to the cycler with a very elastic tether, you could borrow velocity from it, but that's completely impractical.

The potential advantage of the cycler is that it can provide space and non-consumable amenities for the journey, thus saving mass on the shuttle that rides the cycler. That's not a huge win for translunar flight, where it's only a 3-5 day trip each way, but for e.g. routine flights between Earth and Mars, it's more attractive. The mothership in "The Martian" was an Earth-Mars cycler.

This sort of spacecraft is known as a "cycler".

You hit on the problem with it: you have to match its trajectory/velocity exactly in order to dock with it, so if you can reach the cycler, you could already reach the cycler's destination.

There's no slowing down of the cycler for the same reason. In principle, if you connected to the cycler with a very elastic tether, you could borrow velocity from it, but that's completely impractical.

The potential advantage of the cycler is that it can provide space and non-consumable amenities for the journey, thus saving mass on the shuttle that rides the cycler. That's not a huge win for translunar flight, where it's only a 3-5 day trip each way, but for e.g. routine flights between Earth and Mars, it's more attractive. The mothership in "The Martian" is acting as an Earth-Mars cycler.

2 added 60 characters in body
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This sort of spacecraft is known as a "cycler""cycler".

You hit on the problem with it: you have to match its trajectory/velocity exactly in order to dock with it, so if you can reach the cycler, you could already reach the cycler's destination.

There's no slowing down of the cycler for the same reason. In principle, if you connected to the cycler with a very elastic tether, you could borrow velocity from it, but that's completely impractical.

The potential advantage of the cycler is that it can provide space and non-consumable amenities for the journey, thus saving mass on the shuttle that rides the cycler. That's not a huge win for translunar flight, where it's only a 3-5 day trip each way, but for e.g. routine flights between Earth and Mars, it's more attractive. The mothership in "The Martian" was an Earth-Mars cycler.

This sort of spacecraft is known as a "cycler".

You hit on the problem with it: you have to match its trajectory/velocity exactly in order to dock with it, so if you can reach the cycler, you could already reach the cycler's destination.

There's no slowing down of the cycler for the same reason. In principle, if you connected to the cycler with a very elastic tether, you could borrow velocity from it, but that's completely impractical.

The potential advantage of the cycler is that it can provide space and non-consumable amenities for the journey, thus saving mass on the shuttle that rides the cycler. That's not a huge win for translunar flight, where it's only a 3-5 day trip each way, but for e.g. routine flights between Earth and Mars, it's more attractive. The mothership in "The Martian" was an Earth-Mars cycler.

This sort of spacecraft is known as a "cycler".

You hit on the problem with it: you have to match its trajectory/velocity exactly in order to dock with it, so if you can reach the cycler, you could already reach the cycler's destination.

There's no slowing down of the cycler for the same reason. In principle, if you connected to the cycler with a very elastic tether, you could borrow velocity from it, but that's completely impractical.

The potential advantage of the cycler is that it can provide space and non-consumable amenities for the journey, thus saving mass on the shuttle that rides the cycler. That's not a huge win for translunar flight, where it's only a 3-5 day trip each way, but for e.g. routine flights between Earth and Mars, it's more attractive. The mothership in "The Martian" was an Earth-Mars cycler.

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