Part IB Advanced Physics Course

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The Voyager spacecraft were an amazing feat of engineering, science and management; they sent back more information about the solar system than any mission before or since.

This graph shows the boosts received in the slingshots of Voyager2 (from JPL's Basics of Space Flight).

images/bsf16-22voyager 2

Voyager 2 leaves Earth at about 36 km/s relative to the sun. Climbing out, it loses much of the initial velocity the launch vehicle provided. Nearing Jupiter, its speed is increased by the planet's gravity, and the spacecraft's velocity exceeds solar system escape velocity. Voyager departs Jupiter with more sun-relative velocity than it had on arrival. The same is seen at Saturn and Uranus. The Neptune flyby design put Voyager close by Neptune's moon Triton rather than attain more speed.

(From JPL's Basics of Space Flight).

Site last modified Wed Aug 17 16:39:36 BST 2005