The common method for a spacecraft to shift between two orbits is called a Hohmann Transfer, and that the guy who calculated it (in 1925) was inspired by a science fiction book written in 1897, which gave a generally correct explanation of the concept of orbit trajectory

Hohmann transfer orbit

Hohmann transfer orbit, labelled 2, from an orbit (1) to a higher orbit (3)

An example of a Hohmann transfer orbit between Earth and Mars, as used by the NASA InSight probe.

Hohman · Earth · Mars

In orbital mechanics, the Hohmann transfer orbit (/ˈhoʊmən/) is an elliptical orbit used to transfer between two circular orbits of different radii around a central body in the same plane. The Hohmann transfer often uses the lowest possible amount of propellant in traveling between these orbits, but bi-elliptic transfers can beat it in some cases.

The orbital maneuver to perform the Hohmann transfer uses two engine impulses, one to move a spacecraft onto the transfer orbit and a second to move off it. This maneuver was named after W… Continue Reading (11 minute read)

9 thoughts on “The common method for a spacecraft to shift between two orbits is called a Hohmann Transfer, and that the guy who calculated it (in 1925) was inspired by a science fiction book written in 1897, which gave a generally correct explanation of the concept of orbit trajectory”

  1. anima-vero-quaerenti

    Play Kerbal Space Program. You’ll learn a ton about orbital mechanics for a layman.

  2. popsickle_in_one

    The reason we have countdowns before rocket launches is because of science fiction as well.

    Wernher von Braun and his rocketeer friends were fans of the film Frau im Mond which used a countdown for dramatic effect. When they went on to build rockets of their own (first for fun, then for the German military, and later for the Americans) they kept the countdown idea throughout.

  3. Spork_Warrior

    A lot of science fiction books outlined what might be possible.

    Virtual reality was written about long before it became a real thing.

  4. sublimesting

    Yo mama so fat when she gets off the couch to get more cookies from the kitchen it’s called a Hohmann Transfer.

  5. amitym

    Heck, Johannes Kepler, the astronomer who discovered orbits, accurately described a trajectory from the Earth to the Moon in his science fiction story “The Dream.” That was back in the 1630s.

    As Kepler himself noted, it is relatively easy to work it out on paper — building the ships to take you there is the hard part. But science and science fiction have fed each other all along the way.

  6. Illegallifestyle

    So basically the simulator creators are guiding us through art when the game gets too hard. Got it. Lol

    But seriously sometimes when I watch movies and shows I get a weird feeling like it’s preparing us for the future. Like a manipulation. Like I remember watching iron man and thinking his whole 3d laser touch computer stuff was gonna be the future and normal. I also believed flying cars would be here also . So idk.

    But it’s amazing how sometimes imagination creates the science

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