In orbital mechanics, a Hohmann transfer orbit moves a spacecraft between orbiting heights. It is the most fuel-efficient method to do so, because the spacecraft is not trying to escape the planet's gravity, using an elliptical orbit for the transfer.
A ship using this would have to apply two velocities, one to enter the elliptical orbit, and one to enter the second orbit.
Calculation[change | change source]
- is the mass of the planet,
- is the universal gravitational constant, and
- and are the initial and final distances from the center of the planet.
Applications[change | change source]
- Satellites can be moved into their proper height using a Hohmann transfer orbit.
- A lunar transfer orbit (LTO) is used to reach the moon.
- The Interplanetary Transport Network uses more than one body and requires lower velocity changes, and thus less fuel.