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Whitepaper #046 submitted to the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-2032. Topics: other planetary bodies: Uranus and Neptune; state of the profession; technology development
Traditional propulsive orbit insertion missions for Uranus and Neptune have 13–15 years of transit and require propellant loads that reduce scientific payload. Aerocapture uses aerodynamic forces generated within a planetary atmosphere to achieve orbit insertion, while increasing payload mass by more than 40% and reduce transit time by 15–30%.