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Posted: 29 September, 2017

How to pilot your spaceship – Introduction to Orbital Mechanics

Do you know what a Hohmann transfer orbit is or how large the semi-major axis of a geosynchronous orbit is? Well our cadets do now, after their introduction to Orbital Mechanics by Victor Danchev – physicist at EnduroSat.

After covering the basics of Keplerian orbits (such as their orbital elements, shapes and periods), the cadets had a more in depth view of real orbits (taking into account Earth’s deviations from a perfect sphere, drag effect and even some relativistic effects.)

They were also given some real examples of orbital maneuvers, such as the famous Hohmann transfer orbit and the one-tangent burn maneuver.

At the end of the talk, the presenter showed our cadets some numerical simulations so that they can get some idea of the higher complexity involved in many-body systems (such as a satellite orbiting two planets with comparable masses).

The cadets will need all of their knowledge in orbital mechanics in a few weeks, when they will have to apply it to land on the Moon (as a simulation for the moment 🙂 ).

Follow us for more updates on the cadets’ progress!


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