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Questions tagged [flyby]

Questions regarding flyby in which the spacecraft flies near celestial object in a hyperbolic path for scientific explorations. Such flybies may also be made to increase velocity or reduce the velocity via a gravitational assist.

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What Jovian system science targets would be suitable for Jupiter gravity assist flyby missions with other primary purposes?

Flying by Jupiter for gravity assist, and with the Oberth effect bonus, has been used for multiple missions to other outer planets and to comets. And has potential for use even for missions aiming at ...
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What are these mysterious white star-like dots near MU69 Ultima Thule? Real objects near the asteroid, noise, cosmic rays, or something else?

NOTE: I think either possibility suggested below is possible, I'm not looking for arguments why one of them would be your favorite like this answer. Instead, I'm looking for a fairly conclusive answer;...
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Does JPL's Horizons have better MU69 state vectors for the New Horizons flyby somewhere?

Today I downloaded the state vectors for New Horizons and MU69 Ultima Thule and subtracted their positions. The two new get closer than about 596,000 kilometers. The New Horizions output header says: ...
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Why didn't Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 crash on into Jupiter or Uranus when they approached near to these massive planets?

I was reading about gravity assist and I read that both the Voyagers used gravitational force of these planets to speed up. But I wanted to know why weren't they completely attracted by their ...
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How to calculate New Horizons' MVIC camera max resolution at Pluto and Ultima Thule?

I am in trouble calculating the ground resolution of MVIC instrument onboard New Horizons; I found several documents about MVIC specs, like this one: http://www.boulder.swri.edu/pkb/ssr/ssr-payload-...
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What time will news from New Horizons' Ultima Thule (2014 MU69) encounter become available to the public?

This is New Years Day and the big day for New Horizons' encounter with Ultima Thule! But it doesn't mean there was nice pictures of MU69 on the big LED displays in Time Square at ...
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What angular resolution is expected during New Horizon's flyby of Ultima Thule?

Ultima Thule is thought to be about 20 miles (30 km) across. However, I can't seem to find any information about approach distance or typical image resolution of New Horizons in regards to this second ...
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How would a Jupiter flyby have helped to get to the Sun? Why was it later ruled out?

The quote below surprised me. What were the orbital mechanical details of using a Jupiter flyby to get a probe from Earth so close to the Sun? Was a "U-turn" possible; single flyby of Jupiter into a ...
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What is the closest fly-by of a planet/moon ever completed?

I was thinking that on a fly-by of the moon, due to a lack of atmosphere, you could get really close! Of course, in practice this isnt a very good idea- going 1000m/s 50 meters above ground wouldn't ...
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How close to the moon would a flyby trip likely attempt?

For a flyby of the moon, like the SpaceX #dearMoon flight announced September 17, 2018, how close would they likely attempt to pass? Is there an average or optimal trajectory for a lunar flyby used ...
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Delta-v obtained from Titan by the Cassini spacecraft; just how much of a “gas tank” was it?

In the video Cassini at Titan: A World Unveiled after about 01:56 Linda Spilker, Cassini Project Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory says: Not only was Titan ...
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Any news of TESS' lunar flyby; how well did go?

According to this TESS tweet: TESS is on track for a lunar flyby on 17 May at 06:34:35 UTC (2:34 AM EST). At this point, TESS will be 8,253 km from the lunar surface. In the coming days, follow @...
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(How well) Did Juno provide any insight into the Flyby Anomaly?

I ran across an old BBC article titled Juno: The spacecraft putting sling theory to the test — Why a probe passing our planet on its way to Jupiter might end a decades-old mystery, and reveal ...
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Is the Flyby Anomaly still a thing?

The Flyby Anomaly is a name given to an unexplained, unexpected difference between the best theoretical calculation of a change in several different spacecraft's velocities due to flyby (Gravity ...
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Could a probe fly through the Sun's transition zone between chromosphere and corona?

I wonder if a cryogenically cooled probe could fly very fast tangentially pass the Sun and through its transition zone where the temperature drops to below 6 000 K, from millions in the corona. What ...
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Is there a way to get the angle of approach of a spacecraft with respect to a planet velocity vector?

I apologize if my question is badly formulated I know it's really specific but here what I would like to know : I managed to compute the turning angle of the velocity for a body along a hyperbola ...
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How many asteroids could a retrograde probe in the Asteroid Belt flyby?

Cassini makes frequent flyby's of moons at Saturn. If one similarly put a probe in retrograde heliocentric orbit in the Asteroid Belt, how frequent could one expect to make a near flyby, given the ...
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How is JunoCam different from a normal CCD camera?

JunoCam has tweeted us! More background from the BBC. It is supposed to have several features that help allow it to work in the high radiation and magnetic fields it will experience during each ...
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Why would Cassini need to reach 64 degrees inclination before “threading the needle”?

The NY Times article Cassini’s Final Mission: Obliteration says that the Cassini spacecraft will end it's more than a decade long exploration of the Saturn system by raising the inclination of its ...
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Any interest in crewed mission to Mars without landing?

Would there be any interest in a manned mission to Mars without landing? This could consists of none (just a flyby) to many revolution(s) around the planet. Would it cut a consequent part of the cost ...
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What are the gravitational assist effects on the inclination of a probe's trajectory, from passing by Jupiter at different latitudes?

A flyby probe at Jupiter gets its inclination, relative to the ecliptic, changed if it passes above or below Jupiter's equator. How sensitive is a trajectory to this effect? I imagine that there ...
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Are there any free return trajectories for a manned Mars flyby mission between 2018 and 2024?

I am looking for a mission profile including the delta-v for burns for an interplanetary mission to Mars. I have been unable to find any free return trajectories between 2018 and 2024, are there any?
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How can one spacecraft (MANTIS) fly by multiple (7) asteroids?

MANTIS was in 2015 a proposed Discovery class mission which were to fly by seven different asteroids including at least one NEA. I think the spacecraft which holds the record in number of flyby's is ...
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A constant parameter in a three body system?

In a two body system, there are a lot of orbital parameters not changing over time, like eccentricity or the orbital plane. A constant parameter can be a combination of two or more, like even though ...
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What are the “crossing beams of light” in the Cassini images taken during Enceladus plume flyby?

Whilst checking the latest images of the E-21 flyby returned by the Cassini probe, I've noticed that some of them show interesting optical phenomena that I'm not sure I can explain; For example, on ...
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What is the closest flyby to date?

Cassini is to fly within 50 km of Enceladus. What is the closest flyby a spacecraft has ever made? What object was targeted and when was it? Is 50 km a new record? (For the purposes of this question,...
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Cassini flyby through Enceladus plume - How risky is that for the spacecraft and its instruments?

This Wednesday, October 28 2015 at 11:22 a.m. EDT (15:22 UTC), Cassini spacecraft will flyby through the Enceladus plume at only 30 miles (49 km) altitude to analyze plume chemistry with its ion and ...
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Do New Horizons Pluto flyby results justify an advanced orbiter mission to the Pluto-Charon system?

It's going to be another year before all of the data that New Horizons gathered is finally transmitted to Earth, but based on current science return, does what's been received so far warrant an ...
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How close to 2014 MU₆₉ can New Horizons get?

New Horizons is en-route to 2014 MU₆₉, where it is planned to fly by 1 January 2019. Considering fuel and other considerations, how close to 2014 MU₆₉ can it get? (At the time of writing, October ...
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Are any ISEE-3 like returns expected in the foreseeable future?

The crowdsourced effort to re-establish communication with ISEE-3 was a spectacular event enabled, amongst all, by serendipitous trajectory, that brought the probe near Earth after 35 years travel, ...
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Will New Horizons seek a third target?

New Horizons will fly past the Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 in January 2019. This will use 56 m/s of the remaining ∆V budget of 130 m/s (1). The encounter will occur near the inner edge of the belt: ...
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Limitations of gravitational assist flybys

My understanding is that it's easier to send something out of the solar system than into the sun due to the need to overcome the speed at which the earth moves around the sun. My understanding of ...
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How close to a planet can a flyby manoeuvre realistically take place before air resistance becomes a problem?

How close could a probe fly past a planet before forces such as air resistance make it impossible for the probe to escape the pull of its gravity? Obviously there will be different answers for ...
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Calculating the periapsis radius of a flyby manoeuvre without knowledge of the eccentricity of hyperbolic trajectory

Consider a probe approaching a planet for a hyperbolic flyby manoeuvre; The eccentricity of the hyperbolic trajectory can be calculated using the following formula: $$e = 1 + \frac{r_pv_\infty^2}{\...
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How can Sun-Jupiter Lagrangian points be used by flyby probes?

Sun-Jupiter L1 is 1/3 of an AU from Jupiter. Could it be used to slow down or redirect a spacecraft approaching Jupiter? And the same for Sun-Jupiter L4 and L5 for a spacecraft on the way to e.g. ...
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Do Mariner 4 hand rendered images still exist?

At the NASA web site is a story about how the first images returned from Mariner 4 were rendered by hand. Do these images still exist, for example in a museum?
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Why is part of this New Horizon's Charon high resolution image missing?

The New Horizons team released the following photo of Charon today This choice of image seems rather odd to me for a number of reasons. First of all, according to Emily's schedule, there were 3 ...
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New Horizons - Orientation in space

How does the New Horizons probe know it's close to Pluto and turn its science instruments towards Pluto and other targets of its observations during the flyby?
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Why does New Horizons point at Earth during its flyby

Watching the New Horizons flyby, I notice that the probe stops probing and points back at Earth for about an hour at a time, right around the closest approach. This happens on one occasion 6 hours ...
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What causes Pluto's atmosphere to recede/collapse?

An answer to this question sparked my curiosity. Pluto's atmosphere seems to come and go depending on its orbital position and distance from the Sun. If the heat up from coming closer to the Sun ...
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What pushes a spacecraft during a flyby?

xkcd today posted the following graphic: Of these, the only one that I really don't understand is "What pushes a spacecraft during a flyby?" I don't understand why this is an issue. How energy is ...
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When New Horizons is closest to Pluto, how fast will it be going (km/s)?

I've been googling this question because I haven't seen the answer anywhere, yet I know it must be calculated with a high degree of precision. Anyone know if it will be faster or slower than its 13.8 ...
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Should a Europa clipper use a retrograde orbit?

A "clipper", as I understand it, is orbiting a planet to repeatedly flyby one of its moons. Mariner 10 orbited the Sun to fly by Mercury 3 times. Should clippers in general use retrograde orbits in ...
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Why does the Juno spacecraft flyby Earth on the way to Jupiter?

Hohmann transfer to Jupiter is about 2 years 8 months. Juno spends 5 years getting there, almost twice as long. I note that it takes Juno 2 years 8 months to get to Jupiter after the Earth flyby, does ...
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When will 3 outer planets line up for a flyby mission next time?

All 4 outer planets line up once every 175 years. 2 of them line up at least once every orbit Jupiter makes, about every 12 years. But how often do 3 of the outer planets line up? Here's a simple ...
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Are multiple sub-probes feasible for fast flyby missions to outer Solar System objects?

The obvious drawback with a flyby mission compared with an orbiter is of course that an orbiter could make several flyby's. I wonder if the following ideas about mission design could help make flyby ...
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Why Earth flybys?

When playing around with the NASA trajectory browser, I noticed that practically every mission to the Jupiter system followed the mold (order of magnitude of $\Delta V$): Start in Earth Orbit (of ...
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Can safe mode on a spacecraft be bypassed?

A sort of followup to Are any software updates scheduled for Juno? For the purpose of illustration, seeing that Juno has most recently encountered such an issue, I mention Juno here. However the ...
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Are any software updates scheduled for Juno?

So Juno approaches seeking her gravity assist. During the course of the maneuver several on-board systems shall be powered up - in all probability they are nominal, having already been checked-out ...
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Will Earth, ISS, or Tiangong be the first habitat closest to Juno during Earth Flyby 2013?

Just a fun question (+: Juno is approaching Earth for a gravity assist on her way to Jupiter. Her approach will bring her, at the nearest point, a mere 559KM above Earth's surface. ISS orbits just ...