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The Collaborative International Dictionary
orbital mechanics

Mechanics \Me*chan"ics\, n. [Cf. F. m['e]canique.] That science, or branch of applied mathematics, which treats of the action of forces on bodies.

Note: That part of mechanics which considers the action of forces in producing rest or equilibrium is called statics; that which relates to such action in producing motion is called dynamics. The term mechanics includes the action of forces on all bodies, whether solid, liquid, or gaseous. It is sometimes, however, and formerly was often, used distinctively of solid bodies only: The mechanics of liquid bodies is called also hydrostatics, or hydrodynamics, according as the laws of rest or of motion are considered. The mechanics of gaseous bodies is called also pneumatics. The mechanics of fluids in motion, with special reference to the methods of obtaining from them useful results, constitutes hydraulics.

Animal mechanics (Physiol.), that portion of physiology which has for its object the investigation of the laws of equilibrium and motion in the animal body. The most important mechanical principle is that of the lever, the bones forming the arms of the levers, the contractile muscles the power, the joints the fulcra or points of support, while the weight of the body or of the individual limbs constitutes the weight or resistance.

Applied mechanics, the principles of abstract mechanics applied to human art; also, the practical application of the laws of matter and motion to the construction of machines and structures of all kinds.

orbital mechanics, the principles governing the motion of bodies in orbit around other bodies under gravitational influence, such as artificial Earth satellites.

Orbital mechanics

Orbital mechanics or astrodynamics is the application of ballistics and celestial mechanics to the practical problems concerning the motion of rockets and other spacecraft. The motion of these objects is usually calculated from Newton's laws of motion and Newton's law of universal gravitation. It is a core discipline within space mission design and control. Celestial mechanics treats more broadly the orbital dynamics of systems under the influence of gravity, including both spacecraft and natural astronomical bodies such as star systems, planets, moons, and comets. Orbital mechanics focuses on spacecraft trajectories, including orbital maneuvers, orbit plane changes, and interplanetary transfers, and is used by mission planners to predict the results of propulsive maneuvers. General relativity is a more exact theory than Newton's laws for calculating orbits, and is sometimes necessary for greater accuracy or in high-gravity situations (such as orbits close to the Sun).

Usage examples of "orbital mechanics".

To Scott, it appeared to be an illustration of the orbital mechanics of Talin IV and its moon.

The update ship roared ahead, an ungraceful projectile that accelerated even as it grazed Jupiter's tenuous atmosphere, a hostage to orbital mechanics.

The laws of orbital mechanics mandated that there is no easy way to change orbital planes.

It involved geologists, orbital mechanics specialists, NASA managers, even politicians.

Valanndray was still there, toying with orbital mechanics variations.

He had completed his doctorate in advanced Russian studies, held a Masters degree in orbital mechanics and had graduated at the top of his class in mechanical engineering….

It had been years since he'd been faced with a problem in orbital mechanics.