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Acceleration needed to go from a point to another

  1. Aug 16, 2012 #1
    Hello !

    I'm working on an informatic project where there is spaceship and other bodies in space.

    I'm searching for a way to my spaceship to calculate an itinary between two points in space. I know how much my spaceship can accelerate (my reactors has an acceleration of Rx, Ry and Rz) and i need to calculate when and where i need to accelerate or decelerate it to go from one point A in space to another point B.

    My spaceship have already a velocity preset and a constant force toward the nearest star !

    I didn't find the answer by myself so i thought maybe some of you would know how to do it or maybe you can give me some hints on the web !

    Thanks !
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    There are many way to reach a specific point. A constant force? This is a strange star.
    In real systems, you usually do not need a minimal acceleration - not even a minimal integrated acceleration (velocity change). But if the velocity change should be small, the required time to reach the destination can become really long.

    The movement of the spaceship just follows Newton's laws of motion, you can find a lot of material about this in the internet. If you have more specific questions, ask them.
  4. Aug 16, 2012 #3
    The question is vague, you might want to draw a diagram or something, is point B the star you're going to? Or are you moving through space from A to B with the star nearby? You can draw a crude diagram in paint or something so we can conceptualize the problem.
  5. Aug 16, 2012 #4
    Ok so here is a diagram !

    My spaceship is at point A. It needs to go and stay at point B but it has a velocity of V and an overral force of F applied to it (by the nearest star)

    Its reactor only provide a maximum acceleration of R (in Newton).

    How can i go to point B in minimum time using the reactor ?

    Attached Files:

  6. Aug 16, 2012 #5
    This is a very hard problem that lacks any analytical solution. googling for "minimum time orbit transfer" will get you some articles, such as


    and also some matlab packages
  7. Aug 17, 2012 #6
    Thank you Willem ! I will look into it and try to make my way out of this !
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