Uncommon sense in orbit mechanics
Abstract
This paper is a presentation of several interesting, and sometimes valuable nonsequiturs derived from many aspects of orbital dynamics. The unifying feature of these vignettes is that they all demonstrate phenomena that are the opposite of what our `common sense' tells us. Each phenomenon is related to some application or problem solution close to or directly within the author's experience. In some of these applications, the common part of our sense comes from the fact that we grew up on the surface of a planet, deep in its gravity well. In other examples, our mathematical intuition is wrong because our mathematical model is incomplete or because we are accustomed to certain kinds of solutions like the ones we were taught in school. The theme of the paper is that many apparently unsolvable problems might be resolved by the process of guessing the answer and trying to work backwards to the problem. The ability to guess the right answer in the first place is a part of modern magic. A new method of ballistic transfer from Earth to inner solar system targets is presented as an example of the combination of two concepts that seem to work in reverse.
 Publication:

NASA STI/Recon Technical Report A
 Pub Date:
 1993
 Bibcode:
 1993STIA...9585757U
 Keywords:

 Ballistic Trajectories;
 EarthMars Trajectories;
 EarthMoon Trajectories;
 EarthVenus Trajectories;
 Gyroscopes;
 Orbit Decay;
 Orbital Mechanics;
 Solar Sails;
 Swingby Technique;
 Lunar Gravitation;
 Mathematical Models;
 Orbital Velocity;
 Satellite Drag;
 Astrodynamics