Determination of Interplanetary Transfer Orbits for Specified Date of Departure

by Hans B. Schechter

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A method for determining arbitrary interplanetary transfer orbits quickly and accurately with the use of only a desk computer. Coplanar, as well as three-dimensional, surface-to-surface trips are investigated, with consideration given to the eccentric shape of planetary orbits. A number of transfer orbits from earth to Mars are computed for two arbitrarily selected dates of departure. The numerical results are summarized in a series of curves that display not only the characteristic velocity expenditures for trips of various durations, but also the orientation of the departure velocity vector.

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