16
$\begingroup$

Often when launching deep-space probes, scientists will "loop" them around planets, "stealing" some of the planet's momentum and transferring it to the probe - giving the probe a huge speed boost.

I've heard of multiple assists being chained together, for example Jupiter, then Saturn, then flying off at enormous speed out of the solar system.

It seems that getting more and more of these assists would be beneficial to the probe's mission. Which probe that we have launched has received the most gravitational assists?

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Largest number, or largest total delta-vee? $\endgroup$ – gerrit Sep 7 '13 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ @gerrit Largest total number of assists. $\endgroup$ – Undo Sep 7 '13 at 15:52
21
$\begingroup$

If you only count planets, then I believe it's MESSENGER at six.

Though your question was explicitly: "Which probe that we have launched has received the most gravitational assists?" The winner there is Cassini, hands down. It is on Titan flyby number 93 125, so far. And it's flown by other moons of Saturn. Plus the four planetary flybys on the way to Saturn.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.