Gravitational assist

The gravitational assist is the use of the relative movement and gravity of a planet or other astronomical object to change the path and the speed of a spacecraft. This helps economise propellant and minimise expenses.
The gravitational assist was first used in 1959 by the Soviet probe Luna 3 to take a picture of the far side of the Moon. Two spacecraft – Solar Orbiter and BepiColombo – are using this manoeuvre to lose energy and reach their intended destinations. They are using it to lose energy and move closer to the Sun.

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