The REAL Grand Tour

Rigel

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#1
Simce I was a child I've felt fascinated about the Voyager Program. A trip around the four outher planets and beyond, in a 45 years long mission that's still ongoing? Wow. That's the epitome of heroic space exploration.

So I want to recreate it. But it won't be easy. First of all, the Voyagers took advantage of an alignment between the outher planets that takes place every 175 years. Ok. Then I have to wait for it to take place. I had 2 options:
A) Make complex calculations to deduce the accurate launch time and trajectory
B)Get a screenshot of the planets position by the date Voyager 2 departed, and recreate it.
Obviously I chose B. This is the solar system in 20/08^1977
 

Rigel

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#2
(Sorry I sent the mission report unfinished. Now I'll continue)

The challenge is to make a probe that flybys the four giant planets without need of main engines: just relying in the gravity assists and the small corrections you need to do with the RCS. Just like the Voyagers did. So, This is the path the Voyagers followed:
1200px-Voyager_Path.svg.png
And this is the position of the solar system bodies in 1977. As you can see, Jupiter is almost at opposition to Neptune, and the four planets are set in an spiral-like formation:
índice.jpg
Next step, I have to wait till I get a quite similar position. This should be ok:
Screenshot_20220206-180030_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg
Everything is finally ready. It's time to launch my probe:
Screenshot_20220206-174850_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg Screenshot_20220206-175038_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg Screenshot_20220206-175130_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg Screenshot_20220206-175137_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg Screenshot_20220206-091120_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg Screenshot_20220206-175246_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg
Then, we start our way to Jupiter. Once we are on route, I unfold the proble:
Screenshot_20220206-180136_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg Screenshot_20220206-181043_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg
As soon as I enter Jupiter SOI, I make corrections with the RCS until the sligshot launches me directly towards Saturn. Luckily, I even have the chance to get a close encounter with Callixto:
Screenshot_20220206-180417_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg Screenshot_20220206-181326_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg
When in Saturn, I have to make a bigger correction to aim towards Uranus, but everything is OK:
Screenshot_20220206-183745_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg
From Uranus to Neptune, I only need a very small correction, and I can cam take some pictures of the Uranus family:
Screenshot_20220206-184139_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg Screenshot_20220206-184121_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg
Now the Neptune flyby, with a close encounter with Triton:
Screenshot_20220206-184013_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg
Primary mission is over. Time for a family portrait of the Solar System, like the one Voyager 1 took in 1990 as my tiny probe enters interstellar space...
Screenshot_20220206-184759_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg Screenshot_20220206-184722_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg Screenshot_20220206-184951_Spaceflight Simulator.jpg
 
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Altaïr

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#3
Oh nice!

Very good recreation of Voyager 2, you even made a fly-by of Triton.
How did you get the right planetary configuration? By time-warping or did you edit the planet position?

I moved the thread to the regular challenges section, the "Team Frontier" one is only for team Frontier submissions for ranks (even if we have a Voyager mission in it).
 

Rigel

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#4
Very good recreation of Voyager 2, you even made a fly-by of Triton.
How did you get the right planetary configuration? By time-warping or did you edit the planet position?
Thanks! Not only I visited Triton, but also Callixto!

I time wrapped, I don't even know how to edit the planets position :).

The time span between two Grand Tour alignments takes just a little longer than a full Neptune orbit. But In my case I had to wait until its fourth orbit till I found the optimal alignment (it would have been 700 years!). Maybe with the supercomputers NASA has, I could have guessed a valid trajectory in the first three chances; but, with my resources, I prefered to wait for the perfect alignment. The problem I had the first three times was the jump from Saturn to Uranus, as Saturn was always slightly ahead than desired to give me the right sligshot.

All in all, it was easier than expected: From Jupiter to Saturn, and from Uranus to Neptune, I found myself in an encounter trajectory to the following planet as soon as I entered the first planet SOI, without any correction. The exception was Saturn, as I needed a long burn with my RCS's to to get the right path to Uranus.
 
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