Unit 6 : Elliptical Orbits Revisited : Transfer Orbit & Total Travel Time : Launch Windows : Unit Exam

Unit 6: A Trip to Another World
Timing is Everything

Unit 6 will combine just about everything you have learned in the previous units. Specifically, in Unit 2 we looked at how Tycho Brahe plotted the positions of planets in the sky over years, and how Kepler used the position data for Mars to establish that the planets orbited the Sun in ellipses. Also, in the last unit, we saw how a spacecraft can leave Earth orbit to head off into space. We will now examine how a spacecraft can establish a different orbit to meet another planet in space.

Since this unit is heavily dependent on the elliptical orbits of planets, we strongly suggest you go back and review Unit 2. This unit goes beyond the description in Unit 2 in that we will now apply Kepler's Laws to directing space flight.