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Questions tagged [orbital-mechanics]

Orbital mechanics or astrodynamics is the application of ballistics and celestial mechanics to the practical problems concerning the motion of rockets and other spacecraft.

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What is the probability of impact?

Space Track is a website dedicated to passing along information about satellites to consumers, primarily satellite operators. The information comes from the US military. In addition to providing the ...
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1answer
732 views

Did the ISS have to adjust its course when the SpaceX Dragon capsule was detached?

We had this question which discussed if space craft had to be corrected in their orbits from the movements from the people inside. (No as their net movement cancels each force out) Following on from ...
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What are the choices today for orbital mechanics simulation software?

I used to be familiar with the various choices out there for orbital mechanics simulation software. Alas, those days are gone. What are the choices today, preferably sorted by platform? This ...
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4answers
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Do any launches bypass LEO?

If sending a payload to GEO (geosynchronous orbit) or any other high orbit, you could start off launching to LEO (low Earth orbit), and then use a Hohmann transfer to raise the height of the orbit. I ...
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1answer
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How are flight plans calculated?

When a project like Rosetta is being developed, how are flight plans calculated? Do planners simply input the desired target into a program or a flight computer which spits out the optimum flight path ...
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4answers
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Energy consumption for travelling to the Moon vs. to Mars

I just finished reading Clarke's "Prelude to Space". In chapter XXVII the character Taine gives a talk where he states It sounds paradoxical, but it's easier to make the forty-million-mile journey ...
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2answers
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What is the first non-solar-system object Voyager 1 will run into?

I know that the farthest man-made object from Earth is Voyager 1, and was wondering if and when it will ever come relatively close to another star system, or some other object located outside the ...
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2answers
542 views

Can a projectile fall into a low Earth orbit?

One of the problems with space flight is the speed required to achieve orbit; 17,500 mph. One of the ways I've always thought to achieve this was to launch at a low speed to a very high altitude then ...
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Can you tack against the sun using a solar sail?

Solar sails are a great, inexpensive way to move out from the sun, if you’re not in a hurry. Ocean going ships are able to tack against the wind, and to move up wind. Could a solar sail gain inbound (...
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2answers
515 views

Under what circumstances would an object falling out of spacecraft start orbiting that spacecraft?

In one of the short stories of Stanislaw Lem the main character, Ijon Tichy, accidentally drops off a piece of pork out of his spaceship, and this pork becomes a satellite of the spaceship, causing ...
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2answers
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Why should the James Webb Space telescope stay in the unstable L2?

We all know that James Webb Space telescope is planned to be launched in 2018. It has been decided that the orbit of JWST will be elliptical around the Lagrange point L2, which has been declared as ...
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3answers
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Could a partial space elevator be practical and useful?

Would it be technologically and economically practical to build and operate a space elevator that only provided transport between lower and higher orbital paths? Such a mechanism would only avoid ...
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How deep is the force well of L4 and L5 Lagrangian Points of Earth-Sun set?

The Lagrangian Points are points in space, where the combination of gravitational pull of a set of two bodies and the centripetal force of orbiting one of them add up to zero. The special property of $...
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2answers
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How long does a CubeSat last?

If I were to launch a CubeSat, how long would it last before falling out of orbit and burning up in the atmosphere?
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1answer
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What branches of mathematics are widely used in astrodynamics?

We knew that Voyager 1 and 2 exploited the gravitational slingshot from Saturn and Jupiter back in 70s, and the trajectories were predicted by Newton's laws of motion, and this law we used a lot in ...
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What creative orbital maneuvers might I do to save fuel for a geosynchronous spacecraft?

I've heard that there might be some creative ways to get to Geosynchronous Orbit that could save a lot of fuel. How might I manage to make this happen?