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Aerocapture as an Enhancing Option for Ice Giants Missions

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

Published onMar 18, 2021
Aerocapture as an Enhancing Option for Ice Giants Missions

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%.


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