Venus troubles

1956, Late March, Gene’s Office

Bob, why did we get this so wrong? I am pretty sure, that at the planning meeting, somebody mentioned that it would only cost about 700dV to get to Venus?

Ah, that is very true Gene, the dV Map, which astronomers from the Grand University of Illyrien created  for us, does indeed estimate such a low cost. Given how both launches went, I also think its likely true. The devil is in the details, unfortunately.

What! What details Bob?

Well, remember how the Moon isn’t  orbiting over our equator? It just happen to be the same problem with Venus, it orbits the Sun with an inclination as well. 3.39 degrees does not sound like alot, but when we hit that badly, and 1956 is apparently a very bad year, then we end up having to pay a large extra bill in order to align our launches with the planet. Otherwise, there will be no intercept and the probe will just pass far above Venus, but in the correct position.

Well, damn, yeah, it did sound too good to be true. So how bad is it?

Pretty bad, the final bill in dV appears to be about 1800 for both launches. With the first launch being a wee bit off, so it faces about the same in corrective burns, in order to intercept.

Double damn… seems we just lost the Venus orbit planing due toe a nasty fluke of orbital mechanics. Sigh, good thing then, that Bill overengineered all of the interplanetary rockets.

If nothing else Gene, Astrogation has tripple calculated the required manuevers. Both should intercept within the specified orbital distance, and the second might be able to orbit. Especially if we do a little aerobraking. If we aim for more then a little aerobraking.. perhaps we can get the first to orbit as well. We are unsure about the Venus atmosphere though, so we don’t know the right altitudes to hit.

Allright, lets try that. Lets just hope the Mars launches better results

Illustration of the inclination of Venus… copied from Bill’s favorite sci fi novel. Sky & Telescope, about a space engineer living in the year 2012

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