# Orbital inclination change

﻿
Orbital inclination change

Orbital inclination change is an orbital maneuver aimed at changing the inclination of an orbiting body's orbit. This maneuver is also known as an orbital plane change as the plane of the orbit is tipped. This maneuver requires a change in the orbital velocity vector (delta v) at the orbital nodes (i.e. the point where the initial and desired orbits intersect, the line of orbital nodes is defined by the intersection of the two orbital planes).

## Efficiency

In general, inclination changes require the most[citation needed] delta v to perform, and most mission planners try to avoid them whenever possible to conserve fuel. This is typically achieved by launching a spacecraft directly into the desired inclination, or as close to it as possible so as to minimize any inclination change required over the duration of the spacecraft life.

Maximum efficiency of inclination change is achieved at apoapsis, (or apogee), where orbital velocity $v\,$ is the lowest. In some cases, it may require less total delta v to raise the satellite into a higher orbit, change the orbit plane at the higher apogee, and then lower the satellite to its original altitude.

For the most efficient example mentioned above, targeting an inclination at apoapsis also changes the argument of periapsis. However, targeting in this manner limits the mission designer to changing the plane only along the line of apsides.[citation needed]

## Inclination entangled with other orbital elements

An important subtlety of performing an inclination change is that Keplerian orbital inclination is defined by the angle between ecliptic North and the vector normal to the orbit plane, (i.e. the angular momentum vector). This means that inclination is always positive and is entangled with other orbital elements primarily the argument of periapsis which is in turn connected to the longitude of the ascending node. This can result in two very different orbits with precisely the same inclination.

## Calculation

In a pure inclination change, only the inclination of the orbit is changed while all other orbital characteristics (radius, shape, etc.) remains the same as before. Delta-v ( $\Delta{v_i}\,$) required for an inclination change ( $\Delta{i}\,$) can be calculated as follows: $\Delta{v_i}= {2\sin(\frac{\Delta{i}}{2})\sqrt{1-e^2}\cos(w+f)na \over {(1+e\cos(f))}}$

where:

• $e\,$ is the orbital eccentricity
• $w\,$ is the argument of periapsis
• $f\,$ is the true anomaly
• $n\,$ is the mean motion
• $a\,$ is the semi-major axis

For more complicated manoeuvres which may involve a combination of change in inclination and orbital radius, the amount of delta v is the vector difference between the velocity vectors of the initial orbit and the desired orbit at the transfer point.

## Circular orbit inclination change

Where both orbits are circular (i.e. $e\,$ = 0) and have the same radius the Delta-v ( $\Delta{v_i}\,$) required for an inclination change ( $\Delta{i}\,$) can be calculated using: $\Delta{v_i}= {2v\, \sin \left(\frac{\Delta{i}}{2} \right)}$

Where:

• $v\,$ is the orbital velocity and has the same units as Δvi 

## Other ways to change inclination

Some other ways that inclination[clarification needed] have been proposed:[by whom?]

• aerodynamic lift (for bodies with an atmosphere, such as the Earth)
• tethers
• solar sails

Transits of other bodies such as the moon can also be done.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

### Look at other dictionaries:

• Orbital inclination — For the science fiction novella by William Shunn, see Inclination (novella). Fig. 1: One view of inclination i (green) and other orbital parameters Inclination in general is the angle between a reference plane and another plane or axis of… …   Wikipedia

• Inclination — in general is the angle between a reference plane and another plane or axis of direction. The axial tilt is expressed as the angle made by the planet s axis and a line drawn through the planet s center perpendicular to the orbital plane. Orbits… …   Wikipedia

• Orbital maneuver — In spaceflight, an orbital maneuver is the use of propulsion systems to change the orbit of a spacecraft. For spacecraft far from Earth for example those in orbits around the Sun an orbital maneuver is called a deep space maneuver (DSM).[not… …   Wikipedia

• Orbital elements — are the parameters required to uniquely identify a specific orbit. In celestial mechanics these elements are generally considered in classical two body systems, where a Kepler orbit is used (derived from Newton s laws of motion and Newton s law… …   Wikipedia

• Orbital station-keeping — In astrodynamics orbital station keeping is a term used to describe the orbital maneuvers made by thruster burns that are needed to keep a spacecraft in a particular assigned orbit. For many Earth satellites the effects of the non Keplerian… …   Wikipedia

• Orbital resonance — For the science fiction novel by John Barnes, see Orbital Resonance (novel). In celestial mechanics, an orbital resonance occurs when two orbiting bodies exert a regular, periodic gravitational influence on each other, usually due to their… …   Wikipedia

• Orbital mechanics — A satellite orbiting the earth has a tangential velocity and an inward acceleration. Orbital mechanics or astrodynamics is the application of ballistics and celestial mechanics to the practical problems concerning the motion of rockets and other… …   Wikipedia

• Orbital state vectors — In astrodynamics or celestial dynamics orbital state vectors (sometimes state vectors) are vectors of position ( ) and velocity ( ) that together with their time (epoch) ( ) uniquely determine the state of an orbiting body. State vectors are… …   Wikipedia

• Orbital eccentricity — This article is about eccentricity in astrodynamics. For other uses, see Eccentricity (disambiguation). An elliptic Kepler orbit with an eccentricity of 0.7 (red), a parabolic Kepler orbit (green) and a hyperbolic Kepler orbit with an… …   Wikipedia

• Orbital period — For the music album, see Orbital Period (album). The orbital period is the time taken for a given object to make one complete orbit about another object. When mentioned without further qualification in astronomy this refers to the sidereal period …   Wikipedia