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47 votes

Why didn't Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 crash on into Jupiter or Uranus when they approached near to these massive planets?

why weren't they completely attracted by their gravitational field? How much a trajectory is changed, depends on 3 factors: the mass of the planet, the speed of the spacecraft, the distance between ...
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21 votes

Why didn't Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 crash on into Jupiter or Uranus when they approached near to these massive planets?

To add to the answers @Hobbes & @Steve Linton posted, the mission designers indeed knew Jupiter's gravity field quite well from the orbits of Jupiter's moons. But before the Voyagers arrived they ...
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20 votes
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What pushes a spacecraft during a flyby?

Whilst the main factors involved in transferring energy to space craft during a flyby are well known, I believe this is a reference to several observed anomalies that have occurred to various space ...
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18 votes
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How is JunoCam different from a normal CCD camera?

JunoCam used different technologies than does the typical framing camera one buys at a store. A typical digital color camera uses a Bayer filter pattern, a row of alternating tiny blue and green ...
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18 votes
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Will crewed vehicles ever follow multi-flyby trajectories?

Given the mass costs in terms of consumables and the risk and support costs of keeping humans in space for longer, it seems unlikely that the multiple Earth-Venus flybys used by a lot of robot probes ...
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16 votes
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What is the closest flyby to date?

JAXA's Hayabusa came to within 44 meters of 25143 Itokawa, which, in an unfortunate sequence of events, lead to its lander MINERVA to miss the target: MINERVA was deployed on 12 November 2005. The ...
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16 votes

What time will news from New Horizons' Arrokoth (2014 MU69) encounter become available to the public?

In simple explanation, we won't able to know what's up with New Horizons right away. The probe will be busy collecting all the science data during the high-speed flyby. Closest approach will be at ...
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15 votes
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Is the Flyby Anomaly still a thing?

Yes, the Flyby Anomaly is still an unsolved problem. Studies have found several candidates for the cause of the anomaly. A recent study examined Juno's behavior on its Jupiter orbits, and found the ...
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15 votes

Why didn't Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 crash on into Jupiter or Uranus when they approached near to these massive planets?

Let's try and understand how gravity works in space. This is kind of key idea to understanding lots of issues in space travel and astronomy. So imagine a space probe, or rock, which is heading in ...
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15 votes
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Will Dragonfly flyby Jupiter en route to Saturn?

Here is a paper which among other things includes the results of a trajectory search. They say Gravity assists of Earth, Venus, and Mars were included with a patched conics assumption. Jupiter was ...
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14 votes
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Do Mariner 4 hand rendered images still exist?

It was displayed publicly yesterday! At a Karman lecture held by Mr. Blaine Baggett, Director, Office of Communication and Education, JPL. It might not be archived and available to download right now, ...
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13 votes
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How close to 2014 MU₆₉ can New Horizons get?

The flyby distance will depend on how accurately they can measure 2014 MU69's orbit. This KBO was discovered only 3 years ago, and because it's so faint we only have a few observations to go on. For ...
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13 votes
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Why does the Juno spacecraft flyby Earth on the way to Jupiter?

No, the Atlas 551 is not powerful enough to send Juno to Jupiter. From this article on NASA's website: The Juno spacecraft was launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on August 5, 2011. ...
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12 votes

Why does New Horizons point at Earth during its flyby

This last downlink transmission, ending ~24 hours before the flyby is a contingency plan. If New Horizons has a catastrophic collision as it passes through the Pluto system, we'll at least have some ...
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12 votes

What are the gravitational assist effects on the inclination of a probe's trajectory, from passing by Jupiter at different latitudes?

Yes, Jupiter can make a trajectory perpendicular to the ecliptic, which is exactly what it did for Ulysses, which observed the poles of the Sun: The function is just vector addition. It depends on ...
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10 votes

What is the closest flyby to date?

Chinese Chang'e 2 flew 3.2 km from the asteroid 4179 Toutatis (size: 4.7×2.4×1.9 km) in 2012 after having ended its primary Lunar mission. Maybe a record for intentional flyby's? Here's a list of the ...
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9 votes

New Horizons - Orientation in space

What this is called primarily is called Attitude Determination, and is a part of the attitude control system in most spacecraft. Wikipedia has a great bit on that, which states: Two star cameras ...
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9 votes
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Why would Cassini need to reach 64 degrees inclination before "threading the needle"?

This is purely a speculation, as I have not found any official sources to confirm it, but I think they want to be able to view Saturn's pole during the fly by. The trigonometry works out at least: If ...
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9 votes
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How would a Jupiter flyby have helped to get to the Sun? Why was it later ruled out?

A gravity assist at Jupiter would have been used to decrease Solar Probe (Plus)'s orbital speed, lowering its perihelion as explained well in this answer. Credit: NASA/JHUAPL In fact, for such an ...
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7 votes
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Why is part of this New Horizon's Charon high resolution image missing?

In fact, the New Horizons team is now admitting that they missed the Pluto image, and likely Charon as well. Here's a few quotes from the Washington Post. If you look at the first big close-up ...
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7 votes

Do New Horizons Pluto flyby results justify an advanced orbiter mission to the Pluto-Charon system?

We simply don't have the launcher system to accomplish that (see below). EDIT (hat tip to Mark Adler for an answer to a related question - although please have a look at his criticism of my answer ...
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7 votes
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Delta-v obtained from Titan by the Cassini spacecraft; just how much of a "gas tank" was it?

I downloaded the ~170 SPK reconstructed trajectory kernels (at Saturn) from the NAIF node of PDS and searched for instances where Cassini was within Titan's sphere of influence (~43,000 km). Note that ...
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7 votes
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What angular resolution is expected during New Horizon's flyby of Ultima Thule?

Update 2019-01-01: I've calculated detailed resolution and range values for the encounter's imaging schedule. The chart can be found in this answer (scroll down to Resolution during capture in meters ...
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6 votes

Do New Horizons Pluto flyby results justify an advanced orbiter mission to the Pluto-Charon system?

There are definitely some interesting questions resulting from the Pluto flyby, that I'm sure scientists would love to study. However, there are a number of objects that are higher in the priority to ...
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6 votes

How close to a planet can a flyby manoeuvre realistically take place before air resistance becomes a problem?

100 miles (160 km) at Mars is plenty far enough. Negligible heating and drag will be seen at that altitude for a single pass. (That would not be a good orbit altitude though, since the very small ...
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6 votes
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Are multiple sub-probes feasible for fast flyby missions to outer Solar System objects?

The sad reality is that by splitting a probe into a few subprobes you decrease mass, thermal control, and energy budgets available for scientific payloads. mass: you still have to build the frame ...
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6 votes
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What causes Pluto's atmosphere to recede/collapse?

Keep in mind that until New Horizon gets there we don't know a great deal about the atmosphere of Pluto. There seem to be a number of theories (the article I'm using as a source doesn't match the ...
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6 votes

When New Horizons is closest to Pluto, how fast will it be going (km/s)?

From Wikipedia on New Horizons: New Horizons is intended to pass within 10,000 km (6,200 mi) of Pluto, with this closest approach date estimated to occur on July 14, 2015 at 11:50 UTC. New Horizons ...
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6 votes
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How close to the moon would a flyby trip likely attempt?

SpaceX has posted a nice info graphic: The perilune (closest approach to the moon, number 06 in the graphic) is going to be about 125 miles / 201 km.
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6 votes
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What is the closest fly-by of a planet/moon ever completed?

Here's a list of what the closest flybys that I have found of several objects. For Cassini and Galileo, I took the closest approaches they had to any object, pre-impact. Earth: Galileo- 301 km Moon- ...
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