Voyager trajectory

Voyager trajectory

A diagram of the trajectories that enabled NASA’s twin Voyager spacecraft to tour the four gas giant planets and achieve velocity to escape our solar system. Image:NASA (Published on August 20, 1977)
In orbital mechanics and aerospace engineering, a gravitational slingshot, gravity assist maneuver, gravity boost, or swing-by is the use of the relative movement (e.g. orbit around the Sun) and gravity of a planet or other astronomical object to alter the path and speed of a spacecraft, typically to save propellant and reduce expense. Gravity assistance can be used to accelerate a spacecraft, that is, to increase or decrease its speed or redirect its path. The “assist” is provided by the motion of the gravitating body as it pulls on the spacecraft. The gravity assist maneuver was first used in 1959 when the Soviet probe Luna 3 photographed the far side of Earth’s Moon. It was used by interplanetary probes from Mariner 10 onwards, including the two Voyager probes’ notable flybys of Jupiter and Saturn.

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