Aerobraking

aerobrakeaerodynamic brakingatmospheric entrybraking
Aerobraking is a spaceflight maneuver that reduces the high point of an elliptical orbit (apoapsis) by flying the vehicle through the atmosphere at the low point of the orbit (periapsis).wikipedia
132 Related Articles

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

MROMars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)CTX
Simulations of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter aerobraking use a force limit of 0.35 N per square meter with a spacecraft cross section of about 37 m², equate to a maximum drag force of about 7.4 N, and a maximum expected temperature as 170 °C. The force density (i.e. pressure), roughly 0.2 N per square meter, that was exerted on the Mars Observer during aerobraking is comparable to the aerodynamic resistance of moving at 0.6 m/s (2.16 km/h) at sea level on Earth, approximately the amount experienced when walking slowly.
In November 2006, after five months of aerobraking, it entered its final science orbit and began its primary science phase.

Aerocapture

braking maneuver
The spacecraft must also have sufficient surface area and structural strength to produce and survive the required drag, but the temperatures and pressures associated with aerobraking are not as severe as those of atmospheric reentry or aerocapture.
A study showed that using aerocapture over the next best method (propellant burn and aerobraking) would allow for a significant increase in scientific payload for missions ranging from Venus (79% increase) to Titan (280% increase) and Neptune (832% increase).

Mars Global Surveyor

MGSMars OrbiterMGO
In 1997, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) orbiter was the first spacecraft to use aerobraking as the main planned technique of orbit adjustment.
As part of the larger Mars Exploration Program, Mars Global Surveyor performed monitoring relay for sister orbiters during aerobraking, and it helped Mars rovers and lander missions by identifying potential landing sites and relaying surface telemetry.

Magellan (spacecraft)

MagellanMagellan'' spacecraftMagellan'' (spacecraft)
In May 1993, aerobraking was used during the extended Venusian mission of the Magellan spacecraft.
The Magellan probe was the first interplanetary mission to be launched from the Space Shuttle, the first one to use the Inertial Upper Stage booster for launching, and the first spacecraft to test aerobraking as a method for circularizing its orbit.

Tsiolkovsky rocket equation

rocket equationderivation of the Tsiolkovsky rocket equationBasic Rocket Equation
If done by direct propulsion, the rocket equation dictates that a large fraction of the spacecraft mass must be fuel.
The equation does not apply to non-rocket systems such as aerobraking, gun launches, space elevators, launch loops, or tether propulsion.

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

ExoMars TGOTrace Gas Orbiter
In 2017-2018, the ESA ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter performed aerobraking at Mars to reduce the apocentre of the orbit, being the first operational aerobraking for a European mission.
The orbiter began aerobraking in March 2017 to lower its initial orbit of 200 by. Aerobraking concluded on 20 February 2018 when a final thruster firing resulted in an orbit of 200 by. Additional thruster firings every few days raised the orbiter to a circular "science" orbit of 400 km, which was achieved on 9 April 2018.

Gravity assist

gravitational slingshotgravitational assistslingshot
If correctly oriented, this can increase the deflection angle above that of a pure gravity assist, resulting in a larger delta-v.
On the other hand, the atmosphere can be used to accomplish aerobraking.

Hiten

HagoromoHagoromo / HitenHiten and Hagoromo
On 19 March 1991, aerobraking was demonstrated by the Hiten spacecraft.
After the eighth swing-by, Hiten successfully demonstrated the aerobraking technique on March 19, 1991, flying by the Earth at an altitude of 125.5 km over the Pacific at 11.0 km/s.

Aerogravity assist

Another related technique is that of aerogravity assist, in which the spacecraft flies through the upper atmosphere and utilises aerodynamic lift instead of drag at the point of closest approach.
The related techniques of aerocapture, aerobraking, and atmospheric entry also attempt to use the body's atmosphere to help reduce propulsion requirements.

2001 Mars Odyssey

Mars OdysseyMars Odyssey OrbiterOdyssey
This method was originally planned for the Mars Odyssey orbiter, but the significant design impacts proved too costly.
Odyssey then spent about three months aerobraking, using friction from the upper reaches of the Martian atmosphere to gradually slow down and reduce and circularize its orbit.

Lithobraking

Lithobraking
The word was probably coined as a whimsical adaptation of aerobraking, which is the process of slowing a space vehicle by the use of aerodynamic drag in a planet's atmosphere.

2010: Odyssey Two

20102010 Odyssey Twoepilogue to ''2010: Odyssey Two
The spacecraft Cosmonaut Alexey Leonov in Arthur C. Clarke's novel 2010: Odyssey Two and its film adaptation uses aerobraking in the upper layers of Jupiter's atmosphere to establish itself at the Lagrangian point of the Jupiter – Io system.
The Leonov survives a dangerous aerobraking around Jupiter and arrives at Discovery.

Delta-v

delta-''vdelta VΔv
If correctly oriented, this can increase the deflection angle above that of a pure gravity assist, resulting in a larger delta-v.
Delta-v needed for various orbital manoeuvers using conventional rockets; red arrows show where optional aerobraking can be performed in that particular direction, black numbers give delta-v in km/s that apply in either direction.

Space Shuttle

Shuttlespace shuttlesSpace Shuttle Program
It is often used by private pilots, commercial planes, fighter aircraft, and was used by the space shuttles during landings.
During descent, the orbiter passed through different layers of the atmosphere and decelerated from hypersonic speed primarily by aerobraking.

Space Odyssey (TV series)

Space Odyssey: Voyage to the PlanetsSpace Oddyssey: Voyage to the PlanetsSpace Odyssey
In the 2004 TV series Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets the crew of the international spacecraft Pegasus perform an aerobraking manoeuvre in Jupiter's upper atmosphere to slow them down enough to enter Jovian orbit.
A Venus EVA that almost ends in disaster when the lander Orpheus encounters launch delays, the near-loss of the shield during the aerobrake in Jupiter's upper atmosphere and the loss of samples from Jupiter's moon Io all test the crew's resolve.

Venus Express

Venus Express spacecraftVenus Express'' (VEX)
In 2014, an aerobraking experiment was successfully performed on a test basis near the end of the mission of the ESA probe Venus Express.
18 June—11 July 2014: Performs successful aerobraking experiment. Multiple passes at 131 to 135 km altitude.

Kerbal Space Program

Kerbal Space Program: Enhanced EditionKerbal Space Program: Loud & ClearKerbals
In the space simulation sandbox game Kerbal Space Program, this is a common method of reducing a craft's orbital speed.
The simulations are accurate enough that real-world techniques such as aerobraking are viable methods of navigating the solar system.

Spaceflight

space travelspace flightspace transport
Aerobraking is a spaceflight maneuver that reduces the high point of an elliptical orbit (apoapsis) by flying the vehicle through the atmosphere at the low point of the orbit (periapsis).

Atmosphere

atmosphericatmospheresplanetary atmospheres
Aerobraking is a spaceflight maneuver that reduces the high point of an elliptical orbit (apoapsis) by flying the vehicle through the atmosphere at the low point of the orbit (periapsis).

Orbit

orbitsorbital motionplanetary motion
Aerobraking is a spaceflight maneuver that reduces the high point of an elliptical orbit (apoapsis) by flying the vehicle through the atmosphere at the low point of the orbit (periapsis).

Apsis

perihelionperigeeapogee
Aerobraking is a spaceflight maneuver that reduces the high point of an elliptical orbit (apoapsis) by flying the vehicle through the atmosphere at the low point of the orbit (periapsis).

Drag (physics)

dragaerodynamic dragair resistance
The resulting drag slows the spacecraft.

Spacecraft

spaceshipspaceshipsspace ship
The resulting drag slows the spacecraft.

Rocket engine

rocket motorrocketthrusters
Aerobraking is used when a spacecraft requires a low orbit after arriving at a body with an atmosphere, and it requires less fuel than does the direct use of a rocket engine.

Velocity

velocitiesvelocity vectorlinear velocity
When an interplanetary vehicle arrives at its destination, it must change its velocity to remain in the vicinity of that body.