Pioneer 10 and 11 Spaceflight

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This Demonstration shows an animation of the flight of the Pioneer 10 spacecraft's mission to Jupiter and the flight of the Pioneer 11 spacecraft's mission to Jupiter and Saturn. The Pioneer 10 spacecraft used a technique called gravitational assist with Jupiter on December 4, 1973, and the Pioneer 11 spacecraft used this technique two times, with Jupiter (December 3, 1974) and Saturn (September 1, 1979).

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The orbits of planets have the following colors: Mercury: orange, Venus: brown, Earth: blue, Mars: red, Jupiter: brown, Saturn: gray, Uranus: light blue (or black, depending on the background color), Neptune: cyan, Pluto: orange. Pioneer 10 is shown in green and Pioneer 11 is shown in yellow.

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Contributed by: Tomas Franc (July 2013)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA


Snapshots


Details

The time step is one day, positions are at midnight, and the speed is measured relative to the Sun. The origin is at the Sun with the positive axis pointing toward the vernal equinox.

Nothing here is modeled; all positions of the spacecraft and planets were obtained from NASA JPL. We thank NASA JPL for providing the data.

Information about the missions can be found on NASA's Pioneer 10 website and NASA's Pioneer 11 website.

More information about the gravitational assist can be found in [1]. A manual on how to create such an animation can be found in [2]. For more information, see the author's website.

On the author's websitethere is a full animation up to the year 2020.

References

[1] T. Franc, "The Gravitational Assist," in Week of Doctoral Students 2011—Proceedings of Contributed Papers: Part III—Physics (WDS 2011), Prague (J. Safrankova and J. Pavlu, eds.), Prague: MatfyzPress Publishing House, 2011 pp. 55–60. www.mff.cuni.cz/veda/konference/wds/proc/pdf11/WDS11_309_f12 _Franc.pdf.

[2] T. Franc, "Gravitational Assisted Trajectories—Making Your Own Pictures and Trajectory Study," in Proceedings GIREP-EPEC Conference 2011, Physics Alive, Jyväskylä, Finland (A. Lindell, A. Kähkönen, and J. Viiri, eds.), Jyväskylä, Finland: University of Jyväskylä, 2011 pp. 202–207. www.jyu.fi/en/congress/girep2011/main-page/electronic-proceedings-of-the-girep-epec-2011-conference.pdf.



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