Achieving a Closed Orbit Around Neptune Through Aerobraking
Bartlein, Andrew R.
Brewer, Nicholas R.
Vasel, Justin A.
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Changing the orbit of a spacecraft requires large changes in energy and angular momentum. If a spacecraft approaches a target planet with too much angular momentum, it will be routed around the planet and not captured into orbit. To be captured, the spacecraft must shed excess energy. A method called "aerobraking" can be used to slow the spacecraft down by letting it pass through the upper atmosphere of a planet to burn off excess energy. This study examines the parameters needed to break a spacecraft around Neptune using the process of aerobraking.