Wednesday, August 23, 1961: Gravity assist

Michael Minovitch, a graduate student at UCLA working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the summer, presents a technical paper titled "A Method for Determining Interplanetary Free-Fall Reconnaissance Trajectories." In it he describes how a planet's gravity can be used to propel or "slingshot" a spacecraft past other planets and into deeper space. (The first spacecraft to employ the maneuver was Mariner 10 in 1973. The more famous Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were launched in 1977; at left are their paths.)

* More about Minovitch: @
* Minovitch's website: @
* "A Method for Determining Interplanetary Free-Fall Reconnaissance Trajectories" (PDF): @
* "A Gravity Assist Primer" (from Jet Propulsion Laboratory): @
* "The Voyage of Mariner 10" (from NASA): @
* "Mariner 10 to Venus and Mercury" (from JPL): @
* "Voyager -- The Interstellar Mission": (from JPL): @
* Excerpt from "Voyager: Seeking Newer Worlds in the Third Great Age of Discovery": @
* Excerpt from "Ambassadors from Earth: Pioneering Explorations with Unmanned Spacecraft": @

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