Linked Questions

73 votes
5 answers
26k views

Why is it easier to escape the solar system than get to Mercury or the Sun?

It has been mentioned several times on this site that it is "easier" (less delta-v, and hence less fuel) to reach the escape velocity of the solar system, than to reach the planet Mercury or ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 48.1k
9 votes
3 answers
5k views

Maximum velocity achieved by solar sail

What is the maximum (theoretical) velocity that can be achieved by solar-sail technology? Can we get close to the speed of light with that?
Tom11's user avatar
  • 613
12 votes
1 answer
997 views

Is it possible to reach the Sun without expending any fuel/reaction mass?

Imagine that I'm designing a space probe, that will initially be placed into an Earth-like orbit around the Sun. My goal is to have the probe fly/fall into the Sun; it's allowed to take as much time ...
Jeremy Friesner's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
4k views

How to calculate apoapsis of sub-orbital trajectory?

I have made a RK4 simulator for launching a cannonball from a tower. Which has the state variables: Position vector r Velocity vector v Mass of planet M To simplify it, working in only 2 dimensions (...
grom's user avatar
  • 281
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Orbital Mechanics and Launching into the Sun

Astronomy.com's Here's why we can't just rocket nuclear waste into the sun is an excellent explanation of the delta-V required to launch from Earth orbit into the Sun (30 km/s) vs. to escape from the ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 153
3 votes
2 answers
535 views

Journey to the center of the Sun (best trajectory)

Let's assume there is unlimitedly rich eccentric person living nowadays, who has been just diagnosed with a kind of terminal cancer (estimates are 3 years left) and their last wish is to jump into a ...
Sergiy Lenzion's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
298 views

What is the functional form for r(t) for a solar-sail deorbit into the Sun?

This answer describes a spacecraft in a heliocentric orbit using a solar sail to "deorbit" into the Sun by reflecting sunlight into roughly the prograde direction. In comments it was proposed that ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
3 votes
1 answer
428 views

What is the optimal angle for a solar-sail deorbit towards the Sun when radial thrust is included?

In this answer there's a geometrical derivation of the optimal angle of a solar sail to deorbit a spacecraft into the Sun. The naive answer is 45° which would direct the reflected light directly ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
2 votes
1 answer
340 views

Would the Yarkovsky effect ever be faster than a solar sail from a 1 AU orbit to the Sun?

Previously I'd mistakenly asked Would the Poynting–Robertson effect ever be faster than a solar sail from a 1 AU orbit to the Sun? when I'd meant to ask about the Yarkovsky effect which can be much ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k
0 votes
1 answer
226 views

Would the Poynting–Robertson effect ever be faster than a solar sail from a 1 AU orbit to the Sun?

In this answer to Do you need 0 km/s velocity to crash into the sun? I mention solar sails for retrograde thrust and the Poynting–Robertson as two ways an object could ever-so-slowly spiral into the ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 148k