transfer orbit

(redirected from transfer orbits)

transfer orbit

The trajectory followed by a spacecraft moving from one orbit to another, usually to the orbit of another body, such as another planet. The trajectory is generally part of an elongated ellipse – a transfer ellipse – that intersects the new orbit. The spacecraft would have to maneuver into an orbit around the planet by firing its rocket motors.

The transfer orbit requiring the minimum expenditure of energy is an ellipse that just touches the original (circular) orbit and the new coplanar orbit. This is called a Hohmann transfer, after the German engineer Walter Hohmann, who described it in 1925. Enough velocity is put in at the perigee (or equivalent point) of the Hohmann transfer for the craft to reach the new orbit at apogee; at apogee an additional velocity input injects the craft into the desired orbit. Although requiring the lowest possible energy, Hohmann transfers between planets involve a long flight time. The flight time can be much reduced by using a somewhat greater velocity at perigee than that needed for a Hohmann transfer. See also gravity assist.

transfer orbit

[′tranz·fər ‚ȯr·bət]
(aerospace engineering)
In interplanetary travel, an elliptical trajectory tangent to the orbits of both the departure planet and the target planet. Also known as transfer ellipse.
References in periodicals archive ?
The second half of the book develops equations for solving two-and three-body problems, and addresses gravity field modeling, perturbation methods, transfer orbits, and spacecraft formation flying.
The Braxton OAS provides flight dynamics and mission planning capabilities to support multiple satellite bus manoeuvres from parking and transfer orbits to final geosynchronous orbit and station keeping operations.
Braxton, a provider of products and professional services for government and commercial missions, said that its system will augment Boeing's extensive suite of orbital analysis software tools for transfer orbit and station keeping operations.
The 53rd Ariane 5 (V198) lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana, at 15:39 local time (18:39 GMT, 19:39 CET) and released its two payloads, Hylas-1 and Intelsat-17, into their planned transfer orbits.
Then, on July 15th and August 9th, the recertified rocket delivered the Cluster payloads to elliptical, 200-by-18,000-kilometer transfer orbits inclined 65[degrees] to the equator.