Read more on this subject: Space Travel and Exploration
News Story Source: https://www.nextbigfuture.com, by Brian Wang
Aerocapture is enabling for three missions: delivery of spacecraft into elliptical orbits at Neptune and circular orbits at Jupiter or Saturn. Aerocapture significantly enhances five other missions by putting larger, and usually very much larger, spacecraft into the target orbit for approximately the same overall delivery cost as the best non-aerocapture alternative: delivery of spacecraft into Venus circular orbits (79% more mass), Venus elliptical orbits (43%), Mars circular orbits (15%), Titan circular orbits (280%), and Uranus elliptical orbits (218%).
Aeroassist orbit transfer at Earth showed that aerocapture technology offered a 32% cost per kg reduction compared to chemical propulsion.
A previous study showed that aerocapture at Neptune requires a lift-to-drag (L/D) ratio between 0.6 and 0.8 to fly a tight entry corridor to achieve orbit insertion. Since traditional 70-deg sphere-cone planetary entry vehicles can only achieve a maximum practical L/ D of ~0.25, a special Ne
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