We illustrate the energy transfer during planetary flybys as a function of time using a number of flight mission examples. The energy transfer process is rather more complicated than a monotonic increase (or decrease) of energy with time. It exhibits temporary maxima and minima with time which then partially moderate before the asymptotic condition is obtained. The energy transfer to angular momentum is exhibited by an approximate Jacobi constant for the system. We demonstrate this with flybys that have shown unexplained behaviors: (i) the possible onset of the "Pioneer anomaly" with the gravity assist of Pioneer 11 by Saturn to hyperbolic orbit (as well as the Pioneer 10 hyperbolic gravity assist by Jupiter) and (ii) the Earth flyby anomalies of small increases in energy in the geocentric system (Galileo-I, NEAR, and Rosetta, in addition discussing the Cassini and Messenger flybys). Perhaps some small, as yet unrecognized effect in the energy-transfer process can shed light on these anomalies.
- Pub Date:
- July 2007
- Orbit determination and improvement;
- Lunar planetary and deep-space probes;
- Orbital and rotational dynamics;
- 29 pages, 43 images combined into 13 figures. Additions to answer comments of referee