Solar System Grand Tour of
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Solar System Grand Tour

Brief explanation:

In the 1970's NASA's Planetary Grand Tour was an ambitious plan to the alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto and not recur for 176 years for their Voyager Space Probe programme. This planetary constellation could be used to extend the probe's trajectory to planets further out in the Solar System by means of gravitational slingshots at those planets.

Solar System Grand Tour is a more academic approach to determine if it's possible to visit each planet in our Solar System with a Voyager class probe or with one of the successors (New Horizons) in the next 176 years within a reasonable time span.

The mission includes:

  • starting in Earth orbit
  • fly-bys of each planet and including Pluto at least once (as a reminiscent of the Voyager Programme, although Pluto is categorized as a "Dwarf Planet" now)
  • analyzing time beginning from now and within the next 176 years.
  • Voyager or New Horizons class of probe dimensions and resources, like masses and propellant. No "Battlestar Galactica" ship with infinite resources.

Expected results:

a better understanding of orbital mechanics and a new method for interplanetary spacecraft mission design