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Can I Slingshot Myself?  


Crewman Registered
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 4
August 18, 2016 01:31  

Since this game uses realistic gravity and physics and such, is it possible to slingshot myself around large planets to gain more speed? I believe it would be useful for saving on fuel.

Senior Chief Registered
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 82
August 18, 2016 22:07  



Perhaps other players will want to elaborate.  Or even add some instructions to the wiki.

Warrant Officer Registered
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 260
August 20, 2016 05:03  

I'm not sure if all the physics simulation is there to gain advantage of the Oberth effect, if you meant that by slingshoting.

Planets certainly affect your trajectory, but only on a two-body basis: only the reference frame (sphere of influence in KSP) body pulling you.

My shy guess is that Pioneer and KSP calculate trajectories the same way, and as far as I gathered you can make use of the Oberth effect there, so it might be present in Pioneer too.


But given how much thrust and deltaV our ships have, it won't be much of a difference in the end I guess. 

Warrant Officer Registered
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 493
April 22, 2017 20:11  

any of that is possible and you can use the oberth expression even to find the geostatic orbit, brianetta did that oce.

but i'm not the guy who uses a calculator while i'm gaming.

slingshots i've made many, it's quite a while ago when i started to play pioneer, pre alpha it must have been then,
just because i can't tell if it works in the same manner.

personally i was surprised of how slingshots work (worked) in pioneer.

i start with the paragon FE2, if you like to make a slingshot in FE2 you have to be quite careful else you crash to the object (star or gas giant).
to make a slingshot in FE2 you have to pass the object not to be caught by it's gravity and crash into it.
in pioneer it was rather easy (though it isn't 100% newtonian?), i can fly straightwards to a star and be repelled as soon as i reach the escape velocity.
i tried and tried, i thought ok maybe the angle isn't right, but i NEVER managed to collide with the star of which i think that's impossibe.

however yes the velocity you can reach in this manner is truely astronomical and once i was hurled in a few seconds from sun to jupiter (faster as the light?)
but something smells fishy about that (especially FTL).
i used for this the heaviest ship i had, i assumed i should manage it maybe with this clumsy heavy ship to hit the stars surface.
but vice versa it seemed as larger my mass is as higher the velocity.

of course if you like to make real use of this you would need to calculate it, but i can't tell if this works out as planned.

accelerating is one thing, but well you have to decelerate as well and wil need the fuel then to decelerate the extremly accelerated ship.
thus i assume it won't help much to save fuel.
exept you would calculate your course in respect to the planets position/movement and use the gravity of another to decelerate.
theoretically it should be possible.

slingshots are certainly not only difficult to calculate they are difficult to reach the target at all
just a slight difference in the angle to the highmass body and you end up many AU from your target.
thus i guess it's impractical

but well just for the fun or to see if it's to calculate it makes sense.

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Warrant Officer Registered
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 493
September 18, 2017 03:58  

sorry for the not working photobucket links, i have to move the data to picload and announce my photobucket.

however, i've tried some tests making slingshots, not calculated ones, just to see how the engine acts now compared to the early pre-alphas.

i wrote that it wasn't possible to crash with a star, obviousely it is now.
recently it appeared to me "right" or i feel it's right.
i used a quite weak ship with only 10G acceleration and performing a slingshot without calculating is impossible.
either you crash with the star or when you are lucky you get in some sort of orbit.
i didn't managed it to reach the escape velocity by try and error.
from this pov it looks right now but it's also extremely difficult to slingshot.

while except for fun or to see if a calculated curse works as expected i see no use for slingshots.
in pioneer the ships are to powerful to make a senseful use of slingshots.
except you would make the ships extremely weak and give them a fuelconsumption/fuelcapacity which make slingshots needed to reach the outer (or any) planets of a system.

even when pioneer has close to real mechanics it's not the game to perform such, imho.
there are certainly other games which simulate spaceflight how we know it today much better as pioneer can do.

but try it, nonetheless i'm interested in results of calculated or even uncalculated slingshots,
it's fun (a close extremely elliptical orbit around a star is a must see, erm "must feel).