DDA 36th Meeting, 10-14 April 2005
Session 7 Planets: Orbits and Tides
Oral, Tuesday, April 12, 2005, 9:35am-12:15pm

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[7.07] Gravity-Assist Trajectories for Interplanetary and Solar Exploration at the Applied Physics Laboratory

D. W. Dunham, R. W. Farquhar (Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab.)

This presentation will describe gravity assist trajectory techniques that have been, and will be used by past, current, and future space missions of the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), and some background about those techniques. The paper does not describe the long history of low Earth-orbiting missions at APL, and briefly covers past missions, including the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous and Advanced Composition Explorer missions. The emphasis will be on dynamically interesting interplanetary and solar physics missions that APL is currently operating, or soon will be operating. APL's MESSENGER spacecraft was successfully launched on 2004 August 3rd, during the third launch opportunity of that year (the 2nd back-up opportunity). The spacecraft has completed three trajectory correction maneuvers that successfully removed launch injection errors and all systems are functioning normally in preparation for the Earth swingby on 2005 August 2nd. After that, the spacecraft must execute five large deep space maneuvers (DSM's), two Venus flybys, and 3 Mercury flybys before it can insert into orbit about the closest major planet in 2011. Two launches will occur early next year, New Horizons, the first New Frontiers Mission that will use a Jupiter gravity assist to reach the intriguing Pluto-Charon system, and the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatories (STEREO), twin spacecraft that will be launched with one Delta rocket that will use lunar swingbys to enter heliocentric orbits that will drift in opposite directions away from the Earth. The STEREO spacecraft will obtain three-dimensional information about coronal mass ejections and other solar phenomena that might affect the Earth. Orbits similar to STEREO's might be used for other solar studies in the future. We thankfully acknowledge the support of NASA contracts for these missions.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://highorbits.jhuapl.edu. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: david.dunham@jhuapl.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #2
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.