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Just for fun I put together a java app which traces the flight path of an object and it's reaction in the neighbourhood of a gravitational object.

The object flies in an odd trajectory so I think I have my head on backwards with some newtonian concepts.

I have the object initially near a gravitational object (a planet). I have one vector pointing towards the planet at all times with a value proportional to BigNumber/(distance)**2. This is vector velGS.

A second vector is called velThrust and gives the object an initial velocity at right angles to the gravity vector. (at right angles to it, but only initially because the object follows a curve)

The vectors velGS and velThrust added together form the vector velSum.

velSum defines the trajectory of the object.

Something is wrong because it traverses a 90' angle and at the point where velGS and velThrust point in opposite directions it either escapes or crashes into the planet. Seems odd to me. I thought a crash would entail spiralling downward.

must velThrust change its direction during the first 90' because of the gravitational force?

or

must velThrust maintain its direction at all times? // conservation of momentum, right?

I've added some jpgs to show what this guy is doing.

Attatched are screen shots of the initial configuration :

Green line = velThrust

Red line = velGS

Blue line = velSum = velGS + velThrust

and an escape trajectory where velThrust = 30

and a crash trajectory where velThrust = 25.

The object flies in an odd trajectory so I think I have my head on backwards with some newtonian concepts.

I have the object initially near a gravitational object (a planet). I have one vector pointing towards the planet at all times with a value proportional to BigNumber/(distance)**2. This is vector velGS.

A second vector is called velThrust and gives the object an initial velocity at right angles to the gravity vector. (at right angles to it, but only initially because the object follows a curve)

The vectors velGS and velThrust added together form the vector velSum.

velSum defines the trajectory of the object.

Something is wrong because it traverses a 90' angle and at the point where velGS and velThrust point in opposite directions it either escapes or crashes into the planet. Seems odd to me. I thought a crash would entail spiralling downward.

must velThrust change its direction during the first 90' because of the gravitational force?

or

must velThrust maintain its direction at all times? // conservation of momentum, right?

I've added some jpgs to show what this guy is doing.

Attatched are screen shots of the initial configuration :

Green line = velThrust

Red line = velGS

Blue line = velSum = velGS + velThrust

and an escape trajectory where velThrust = 30

and a crash trajectory where velThrust = 25.