Calculate Voyager trajectory using JPL data

In summary, the conversation discusses creating an animated simulation of our solar system, including Voyager 1 and 2's trajectories. The individual is struggling to replicate the various thrusts used in the spacecraft's mission and is seeking advice on how to calculate them. They suggest comparing calculated data with JPL data to determine any unnatural changes in velocity. They also mention using Horizons data to import and integrate the spacecraft's positions and velocities for specific dates. By comparing the positions and velocities, they can determine if any thrust was applied during that time period. If there is a difference, they can calculate the delta v and determine the date of the burn.
  • #1
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Hey everyone,

I've recently programmed an animated simulation of the main elements (core planets and Sun) of our solar system: by using the initial coordinates from the JPL database, and then calculating the combined gravitational perturbations and the relativistic effects from the Sun.

However I would now like to calculate the trajectories for both Voyager 1 & 2, and then map them onto my simulation. I can easily replicate the gravitational calculations used for the planets and the Sun, but I'm afraid I'm struggling to find, or figure out how to replicate the various thrusts used throughout the voyagers' mission.

Current thought: Calculate voyagers trajectory purely using gravitational effects and initial position/velocity, and then compare calculated data with JPL data, taking into account error, to calculate any unnatural changes in velocity (i.e. thrusts).

Any thoughts, insights or advice would be much appreciated, thank-you.
 
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  • #2
Get Horizons position and velocity for any 2 dates and place in simulation. Let's use June 1 and July 1 for example.
Import June 1 data. Integrate to July 1, and import July 1 data. You now have 2 spacecraft in your sim. Are the spacecraft in the same place traveling at the same speed? If so, then no thrust was applied during this time period. If they differ, integrate backwards until they make their closest approach to each other. That will give you the date of the burn. The difference in velocity at this point will tell you the delta v.
 

Related to Calculate Voyager trajectory using JPL data

1. How accurate is the Voyager trajectory data calculated using JPL data?

The trajectory data calculated using JPL data is extremely accurate, with an error margin of less than 1%. This level of precision is necessary for navigating the Voyager spacecraft through the vastness of space.

2. What factors are taken into account when calculating the Voyager trajectory using JPL data?

When calculating the Voyager trajectory, JPL data takes into account various factors such as the gravitational pull of planets and other celestial bodies, the spacecraft's velocity, and its path through the solar system. Additionally, JPL constantly updates the data to account for any changes in the Voyager's trajectory caused by these factors.

3. Can the Voyager trajectory be altered or corrected using JPL data?

Yes, the Voyager trajectory can be altered or corrected using JPL data. JPL regularly calculates and updates the trajectory to ensure the spacecraft stays on its intended path. If necessary, corrective maneuvers can also be made using the data to keep the Voyager on course.

4. How does JPL collect data for calculating the Voyager trajectory?

JPL collects data for calculating the Voyager trajectory through various methods, including tracking the spacecraft's position and velocity using radio signals, analyzing images and data sent back by the spacecraft, and using mathematical models to predict its path based on known gravitational forces.

5. Is the Voyager trajectory data available to the public?

Yes, the Voyager trajectory data is publicly available through JPL's website. It is regularly updated and can be accessed by anyone interested in tracking the spacecraft's journey through the solar system.

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