Posted on 14 November 2016 by Daniel
Does it take less time to fly to a #SuperMoon?
We were tweeting a bit earlier on today’s #SuperMoon, when we spotted this query from @aidengardiner:
@esaoperations if a spacecraft was launched to head to the moon during a supermoon would it take less time to get their with it being nearer
— aiden gardiner (@aidengardiner) November 14, 2016
We passed Aiden’s query to ESA mission analyst Michael Khan, here at ESOC, who sent in this reply:
Yes it would, but not much.
However, it is irrelevant whether there is a Supermoon, as long as the Moon is at perigee at the time of arrival. The phase of the moon doesn’t matter.
A transfer that leads to arrival at the closest point to the Earth on the Moon would not be the most popular though, even if the transfer is a little bit shorter. Arriving at perigee of the Moon orbit also means that the insertion manoeuvre would be a bit larger, which is unwelcome and arguably more important than a slightly shorter travel time.
And while we’re on the topic here is the excellent #SuperMoon ISS transit images captured by Stefan Gotthold (@ClearSkyBlog) in Berlin today!