orbital simulation

Orbital Distance Speed Intuition

By silviodc, 3 June 2021

Or something like that XD I was discussing with a friend the deltaV requirements to fly to the Sun (~30km/s) for a simple route and we struggled a bit to intuitively grasp, why this requires more energy than leaving the solar system (which is a much bigger distance). But in space, distance does not matter. Gravity and speed do!

This discussion motivated me to create this visualisation tool, so I had a better argument, and I didn’t find anything similar on my 4 min online reasearch XD

When you orbit an object, your orbital speed determines the distance you will have from this object. Soo if the ISS accelerates, they are raising the orbit. Actually they have to do this from time to time, because the drag of our atmosphere slows it down.

To calculate a required speed for a distance, you can use this equation:

velocity = √ gravitational constant * total mass / orbit radius

If yo are orbiting a planet or star, you can neglect your own mass 😉

With the tool you can compare the speed changes of different orbits around the sun. Obviously everything is designed in the right scale 😛

Here you find the result.