Michael A. Minovitch
|Known for||Calculating spacecraft trajectories|
|Doctoral advisor||Shoshichi Kobayashi|
Michael Andrew Minovitch (born c. 1936) is an American mathematician who produced spacecraft trajectories enabling a craft to gain velocity by travelling close to a planet orbiting the sun. His own personal gravity assist technique was developed in the early 1960s when he was a UCLA graduate student and working summers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. In 1961 Minovitch began using the fastest available computer at the time, the IBM 7090, to solve the three-body problem. He ran simulations and developed his own solution by 1962.
Early studies of comets in the late 19th century showed that their orbits were quite different after they had made a close approach to Jupiter. This indicated that a transfer of energy had occurred during the encounter.
Minovitch patented a vehicle for space travel under the patent title Magnetic propulsion system and operating method, US Patent 6193194 B1.
- Christopher Riley and Dallas Campbell (October 23, 2012). "The maths that made Voyager possible". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-10-14.
- Minovitch, Michael (July 11, 1961). "An Alternative Method for Determination of Elliptic and Hyperbolic Trajectories" (PDF). Jet Propulsion Laboratory Technical Memos (TM-312–118).
- Minovitch, Michael (August 23, 1961). "A Method For Determining Interplanetary Free-Fall Reconnaissance Trajectories" (PDF). Jet Propulsion Laboratory Technical Memos (TM-312–130): 38–44.
- "The Pioneer Missions". nasa.gov. March 26, 2007. Retrieved 2015-01-29.
- Bill Casselman. "Slingshots and Space shots". American Mathematical Society. Retrieved 2015-01-29.
- Michael Minovitch at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- Jupiter swing-by trajectories passing near the earth Includes comprehensive history of the development of gravity-assist trajectories.
- on YouTube
- Gravity-assist "Slingshot", Background, principle, applications, Part 1 and 2 on EEWorldOnline.com
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