Dr. Michael Minovitch Announces Findings on His Invention: Gravity Assist Multiplanetary Trajectories

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Dr. Michael A. Minovitch, mathematician, physicist, and inventor, is announcing that his Gravity Propelled Interplanetary Space Travel work is available online. Also known as gravity assist, or gravity assist trajectories, this invention launched a new era of exploration and space travel.

The key to achieving this invention was solving the mathematical problem of determining the required ‘approach trajectories’

Space travel and exploration would not be the same without the diligent and innovative work of Dr. Michael A. Minovitch. In 1961, Dr. Minovitch invented gravity assist multiplanetary trajectories, designed to significantly reduce launch energies and flight times by replacing traditional direct-transfer trajectories with indirect detour trajectories that pass a series of intermediate planets. By passing the intermediate planets on carefully designed "approach trajectories," the vehicle receives great changes in its orbital energy without rocket propulsion in a way designed to gravitationally catapult the vehicle to the next planet in the series that can be continued indefinitely thereby achieving speeds impossible to achieve with rocket propulsion. Minovitch is announcing that alll of the corresponding information and documents are now available at gravityassist.com as a resource.

Gravity Propelled Interplanetary Space Travel is a way to explore the entire solar system at great speeds using relatively little launch energy without any subsequent rocket propulsion. Before Minovitch’s invention became known, launching a space vehicle from Earth via conventional rocket propulsion to explore the outer planets beyond Jupiter was believed to be physically impossible by JPL, NASA, and in all of the hundreds of archival professional papers, including those of the world’s leading space researchers and astrodynamicists, such as Author C. Clarke, Derek F. Lawden, Theodore von Karman and Krafft Ehricke.

The solution: Gravity Propelled Interplanetary Space Travel -- A radically new theory for achieving unlimited high-energy interplanetary space travel throughout the entire solar system without a rocket engine. It was the result of Dr. Minovitch’s research. He discovered the mathematical formula for achieving high-energy multiplanetary space travel without rocket propulsion (gravity propulsion) by solving the problem of calculating the required approach trajectories. With this mathematical method of space travel, any desired target destination in the solar system previously believed to be impossible to reach without nuclear propulsion (that turned out to be beyond engineering feasibility) can be easily reached with relatively small conventional launch vehicles by simply replacing the usual direct-transfer trajectory with an indirect gravity propelled trajectory that passes one or more intermediate gravity propulsion planets.

"The key to achieving this invention was solving the mathematical problem of determining the required ‘approach trajectories’," explains Minovitch. "I solved this problem using vector analysis, changing the usual method for defining conic trajectories in a three dimensional coordinate system from the standard constant six scalar "orbital element" representation that was used and taken for granted for over 200 years by all the professionals, to a two constant "orbital vector" representation, and discovering a general vector planet-vehicle orbital energy exchange equation for all possible planetary approach and departure trajectories for catapulting the vehicle to the next gravity propulsion planet in the encounter sequence."

The discovery of the general vector planet-vehicle orbital energy exchange equation was the important component because it provided the required orbital energy exchanges via a series of controlled gravitational interactions with intermediate planets to reach the target destination on a high-energy trajectory (or a low energy trajectory) without rocket propulsion.

"I recognized that the planet-vehicle energy exchange equation provided the means for controlling the thrust vector generated on a free-fall space vehicle by the gravitational forces of a passing planet as if they were generated by a powerful on-board rocket engine. And these gravitational propulsive thrust forces increase automatically in direct proportion with the vehicle’s inertial mass according to the Newtonian equivalence principal," continues Dr. Minovitch. "This enabled the post-encounter trajectory to be precisely controlled to catapult the vehicle to the next planet in the encounter sequence in a process that can be continued indefinitely by passing an unlimited number of intermediate gravity propulsion planets."

The invention made it mathematically possible to explore the entire solar system with only one space vehicle using the lowest amount of launch energy required for reaching any planet, the launch energy required for reaching Venus. In this invention, the energy required to explore the solar system comes from the solar system itself.

Dr. Minovitch invented gravity propelled interplanetary space travel while he was a Ph.D. student in mathematics and physics at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) during the summer of 1961, working on a part-time summer job at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He presented it to JPL in a technical paper dated August 23, 1961 entitled, "A Method for Determining Interplanetary Free-Fall Reconnaissance Trajectories," (JPL, TM 312-130). Unfortunately, Minovitch’s supervisor believed it violated the law of conservation of energy and dismissed it as a physical impossibility. Minovitch, realizing that the invention was important, took the invention to UCLA and that is where it was initially investigated. After a few weeks, he numerically proved it was one of the most revolutionary inventions ever conceived because it opened the entire solar system to direct exploration with instrumented spacecraft. It not only made it possible, it made it easy using relatively small conventional launch vehicles that all the professionals believed was completely impossible.

The invention of Gravity Propelled Interplanetary Space Travel has taken off, as it made possible the Pioneer, Voyager, Ulysses, Galileo, Cassini Missions, and many more such as the New Horizons Earth -- Jupiter -- Pluto Mission, the planned Earth -- Jupiter -- Sun Mission, and countless others in the planning stages.

A recent invited paper by Dr. Minovitch explaining the mathematical details of the invention entitled "The Invention That Opened the Solar System to Exploration," was published in the May 2010 issue of Planetary Pioneers Series of the journal, Planetary and Space Science. It can be obtained by calling 1-888-834-7287.

To learn more about the revolutionary invention of gravity assist multiplanetary trajectories, and the work of Dr. Minovitch, visit gravityassist.com

About Dr. Michael A. Minovitch:
A scholar, mathematician, physicist, inventor, and a contributor to space travel, Dr. Michael A. Minovitch is revered as a true "planetary pioneer" as the man who opened the entire solar system to exploration with instrumented spacecraft with his invention of gravity propelled interplanetary space travel, and solving the seemingly impossible mathematical problem of computing the trajectories Originally from Yonkers, New York, Minovitch came to California as a young child with his parents in 1945. He earned his AB Degree in Mathematics with a minor in physics from UCLA in 1958. He then went on to graduate school at UCLA where he began studying for Ph.D. degrees in both mathematics and physics. He transferred to UC Berkeley in 1964 where he received his Ph.D. degree in Mathematics in 1970. To date, Minovitch has approximately 50 US and foreign patents on his inventions with several more still pending. In 1991, Dr. Michael A. Minovitch was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of gravity propelled interplanetary space travel. In 1992, Dr. Minovitch was interviewed on PBS television where he described his invention in, "Episode 3 -- The Unexpected Universe" for WQED/Pittsburgh/National Academy of Sciences/NHK/Japan, PBS television series: Space Age.


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