Spaceship Handbook Mission Table

This is a table of mission parameters calculated by Jon C. Rogers for the book Spaceship Handbook. It lists round-trip missions starting at Terra's surface, traveling to and landing on the destination planet (or at low orbit for Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune; due to the fact that the atmospheric pressure of these planets will crush your spacecraft like a cheap beer can) then lifting off, traveling back to and landing on Terra.

Mr. Rogers is interested in comparing the different trajectory types, so the focus is on splitting the mission into standard blocks, rather than optimizing for minimum delta V. An optimized missiom will require less delta V than what is listed in the table (approximately 5% to 10% less delta V). As a verification, Mr. Rogers used his mathematical model to calculate a mission to Luna and compared it to the actual data reported by NASA for the Apollo 11 mission. His model said delta V of 16.905 km/s which is within 3% of the NASA Apollo 11 delta V of 16.479 km/s.

Six trajectories are listed, three impulse types and three constant acceleration brachistochrone types. "Impulse" means the spacecraft makes an initial burn then coasts for months.

Impulse trajectory I-1 is pretty close to a Hohmann (minimum delta V / maximum time) orbit, but with a slightly higher delta V.

Impulse trajectory I-2 is in-between I-1 and I-3 (it is equivalent to an elliptical orbit from Mercury to Pluto, the biggest elliptical orbit that will fit inside the solar system).

Impulse trajectory I-3 is near the transition between delta V levels for high impulse trajectories and low brachistochrone trajectories (it is a hyperbolic solar escape orbit plus 30 km/s).

Brachistochrone (maximum delta V / minimum time) trajectories are labeled by their level of constant acceleration: 0.01 g, 0.10 g, and 1.0 g.

The transit times are important for figuring things like how much food and life support endurance must be carried, mission radiation total dosage, and damage to astronauts due to prolonged microgravity exposure. In fact, if you have a hard limit on, say, total radiation dosage, you can examine the table and rule out any mission trajectory whose transit time exceeds it.

Delta-v and Travel Time for Round Trips To or From Terra's Surface
(i.e., the "Mars" row gives data for both the Terra-Mars-Terra and the Mars-Terra-Mars missions)
☿ Mercury48,740 (8m)75,210 (2.5m)106,230 (2m)397,000 (33d)1,205,000 (13d)3,794,000 (4d)
Venus30,270 (9.6m)63,330 (1m)98,620 (21d)281,000 (19d)815,000 (8d)2,552,000 (3d)
⊕ Terra------
☾ Luna16,480 (9d)----260,000 (7h)
Mars29,930 (17m)52,930 (2m)94,110 (1.5m)370,000 (30d)1,115,000 (12d)3,508,000 (4d)
⚶ Vesta30,300 (2y2m)46,670 (5.5m)92,560 (3.8m)578,000 (54d)1,791,000 (20d)5,654,000 (7d)
⚳ Ceres33,430 (2y7m)44,730 (7.5m)92,160 (5m)655,000 (63d)2,040,000 (23d)6,441,000 (8d)
⚴ Pallas33,110 (2y7m)44,320 (7.5m)91,770 (5m)656,000 (63d)2,043,000 (23d)6,450,000 (8d)
♃ Jupiter69,990 (5y5m)72,690 (1y10m)118,010 (1y)1,000,000 (3.5m)3,142,000 (36d)9,930,000 (12d)
Io76,220 (5y6m)70,760 (1y10m)78,980 (1y)1,000,000 (3.5m)3,143,000 (36d)9,933,000 (12d)
Europa67,390 (5y6m)61,850 (1y10m)71,490 (1y)1,001,000 (3.5m)3,144,000 (36d)9,935,000 (12d)
Ganymede61,880 (5y5m)56,250 (1y10m)67,130 (1y)1,001,000 (3.5m)3,145,000 (36d)9,938,000 (12d)
Callisto55,400 (5y5m)49,640 (1y10m)62,190 (1y)1,002,000 (3.5m)3,147,000 (36d)9,945,000 (12d)
♄ Saturn57,690 (12y1m)55,770 (4y11m)108,680 (2y3m)1,420,000 (5m)4,477,000 (52d)14,153,000 (17d)
Enceladus65,850 (12y1m)59,880 (4y11m)67,810 (2y3m)1,421,000 (5m)4,477,000 (52d)14,155,000 (17d)
Tetheys62,910 (12y1m)56,860 (4y11m)65,600 (2y3m)1,420,000 (5m)4,478,000 (52d)14,155,000 (17d)
Dione59,810 (12y1m)53,660 (4y11m)63,270 (2y3m)1,420,000 (5m)4,478,000 (52d)14,155,000 (17d)
Rhea56,310 (12y1m)50,010 (4y11m)60,780 (2y3m)1,421,000 (5m)4,478,000 (52d)14,156,000 (17d)
Titan49,670 (12y1m)42,750 (4y11m)56,660 (2y3m)1,421,000 (5m)4,479,000 (52d)14,160,000 (17d)
Iapetus45,010 (12y1m)37,590 (4y11m)53,070 (2y3m)1,422,000 (5m)4,483,000 (52d)14,173,000 (17d)
♅ Uranus50,110 (32y)44,830 (15y6m)56,420 (5y2m)2,069,00 (8m)6,532,00 (76d)20,652,000 (24d)
Ariel49,910 (32y)44,650 (15y6m)56,150 (5y2m)2,069,000 (8m)6,532,00 (76d)20,653,000 (24d)
Umbriel48,010 (32y)42,550 (15y6m)54,870 (5y2m)2,069,000 (8m)6,532,000 (76d)20,653,000 (24d)
Titania46,180 (32y)40,410 (15y6m)53,800 (5y2m)2,069,000 (8m)6,532,000 (76d)20,654,000 (24d)
Oberon45,040 (32y)38,930 (15y6m)53,220 (5y2m)2,069,000 (8m)6,532,000 (76d)20,654,000 (24d)
♆ Neptune51,370 (61y3m)48,420 (36y)57,470 (8y5m)2,613,000 (10m)8,257,000 (96d)26,108,000 (31d)
Triton48,090 (61y3m)44,780 (36y)56,030 (8y5m)2,614,000 (10m)8,257,000 (96d)26,109,000 (31d)
Nereid40,620 (61y3m)36,300 (36y)50,400 (8y5m)2,615,000 (10m)7,262,000 (96d)26,125,000 (31d)
♇ Pluto39,810 (90y11m)39,810 (88y9m)50,140 (11y4m)3,009,000 (11m)9,508,000 (111d)30,063,000 (35d)
Charon39,680 (90y11m)39,680 (88y9m)50,080 (11y4m)3,009,000 (11m)9,508,000 (111d)30,063,000 (35d)
Values are delta V in m/s, with transit times in parenthesis. Y = years, M = months, D = days, H = hours.
Planets in gold have atmospheric pressure that will crush your ship like an eggshell, do not land there. The delta V cost for gold planets does not include landing and take-off delta V, only delta V to low orbit.

In (the) table, I was presenting a complete round trip from the surface of the earth to any Destination and back to Earth's surface— which included the steps of the voyage as outlined in the figure 39, i.e., roughly:

  1. Launch to LEO
  2. Transfer to edge of Earths gravity well
  3. Transfer between planets
  4. Mid course corrections
  5. Capture Destination Planet
  6. Transfer to Low orbit around destination planet
  7. Circularize Low Orbit
  8. Land on Destination planet (with allowance for atmosphere braking)
  9. thru 16 And then Repeat the process in reverse to come back to Earth.

Now, one thing I'll admit to is that my numbers are NOT the most efficient possible for any particular trip. What I wanted to do was break up a round trip to anywhere into separate definable components so the Delta-Vs of those differing trajectories could be compared apples to apples. Any normal orbit analyst would have combined steps 2 and 3 (and 10 & 11) for an improved mission Delta-V. However, when you do that, you make comparing a Hohmann orbit to a "Big Ellipse Orbit" or a Hyperbolic + 30 Kms Orbit impossible—that is, they become Apples and oranges. (Don't forget...Space isn't Flat!)

By breaking the trip up into stages we can break out and compare the TRANSFER VELOCITY of the differing Orbits and compare them...and still be very close to the actual Delta V of a typical mission.

So, by this method I produced a valid statistical comparison of different orbits velocity requirements and round trip duration requirements. Real mission planners will beat my numbers by approximately 5-10% perhaps, but that only means you would have that much 'gas' left in the tanks following my flight plans.

Bottom line, dont forget to carry fuel for those mid course maneuvers (errors and asteroids— Darn Rocks!!) and also to land or you'll find yourself in space with no fuel!

And now you know why I say: "May your jackstands strike earth before your tanks run dry!

Jon C. Rogers

Using the mission table above, Mr. Rogers took a list of major propulsion systems and calculated which ones were up to the task of peforming said missions. Note that Mr. Rogers values for the exhaust v3elocity of the propulsion systems might differ slightly from the ones I have on the mission list.

  • 1 Stage, Max Payload is 33% payload, 66% propellant, mass ratio of 2.94
  • 1 Stage, Min Payload is 11% payload, 89% propellant, mass ratio of 9.1
  • Multi Stage is 1.6% payload, 98.4% propellant, mass ratio of 62.5

Cross reference the mass ratio, propulsion system, and mission trajectory. If there is a colored box at the intersection, the propulsion system can perform that mission.

Example: For a 1 Stage minimum payload (mass ratio of 9.1), using a Nuclear Fission Gas Core reactor, with a Mars Impulse trajectory I-2, the presence of a hot pink box says that propulsion system is capable of that mission. But it is not capable of performing a Mars Constant Brachistochrone 0.01g mission.

Erik Max Francis' Mission Tables

Below are a series of tables for Hohmann transfer delta V requirments. Unlike the above table, they are for one-way trips to various destinations. For instance, the above table will give requirements for a Terra-Mars-Terra mission, but the tables below will give requirements for a Terra-Mars mission.

The tables assume that an orbit for each of the bodies is 100 km altitude (even for pointlessly tiny ones like Phobos and Deimos), and for surface launches it is presumed that all the bodies have no atmosphere (not true for, say, Titan).

The tables were created by Erik Max Francis' amazing Hohmann orbit calculator and the easy to use Python programming language (sample program here and here).

Delta V Required for Travel Using Hohmann Orbits

Table Legend

  • Start and destination planets are labeled along axes.
  • Values are in meters per second.
  • Values below the diagonal in blue are delta V's needed to go from orbit around one world to orbit around the other, landing on neither.
  • Values above the diagonal in red are delta V's needed to go from the surface of one world to the surface of the other, taking off and landing. If either is a gas giant, a 100 kilometer orbit is used instead of the planet's surface.
  • Diagonal values in gold are delta V's needed to take off from the surface of a world and go into circular orbit around it, or to land from a circular orbit.

Solar System


Moons of Mars


Moons of Jupiter


Moons of Saturn


Moons of Uranus


Synodic Periods and Transit Times for Hohmann Travel

Here are some Synodic Periods and Transit Times for Hohmann Travel tables. Remember that Synodic periods are how often Hohmann launch windows occur. These too were created by Erik Max Francis' Hohmann orbit calculator.

Table Legend

  • In both sections, "y" means "years", "m" means "months", "d" means "days", and "h" means "hours"
  • Synodic periods (i.e., frequency of Hohmann launch windows) are above the diagonal in red
  • Transit times are below the diagonal in blue

Solar System

Venus2.5m1y, 7.2m11.0m8.9m8.6m8.6m8.5m8.5m7.8m7.5m7.4m7.4m7.4m
Earth3.5m4.8m2y, 1.6m1y, 4.6m1y, 3.6m1y, 3.4m1y, 3.3m1y, 3.3m1y, 1.1m1y, 0.4m1y, 0.1m1y, 0.1m1y, 0.0m
Mars5.6m7.1m8.5m3y, 10.8m3y, 3.7m3y, 2.9m3y, 2.2m3y, 2.1m2y, 2.8m2y, 0.1m1y, 11.1m1y, 10.8m1y, 10.7m
Vesta9.7m11.5m1y, 1.1m1y, 4.2m21y, 8.2m18y, 11.7m17y, 2.4m16y, 11.6m5y, 2.7m4y, 1.6m3y, 9.5m3y, 8.5m3y, 8.2m
Juno11.3m1y, 1.2m1y, 2.9m1y, 6.2m1y, 11.9m151y, 11.1m83y, 1.8m77y, 11.1m6y, 10.6m5y, 1.3m4y, 7.1m4y, 5.7m4y, 5.2m
Eugenia11.6m1y, 1.6m1y, 3.2m1y, 6.5m2y, 0.3m2y, 2.5m183y, 8.3m159y, 11.8m7y, 2.5m5y, 3.4m4y, 8.9m4y, 7.3m4y, 6.8m
Ceres11.9m1y, 1.8m1y, 3.5m1y, 6.8m2y, 0.6m2y, 2.9m2y, 3.3m1239y, 8.2m7y, 6.1m5y, 5.3m4y, 10.4m4y, 8.8m4y, 8.2m
Pallas11.9m1y, 1.9m1y, 3.5m1y, 6.9m2y, 0.7m2y, 2.9m2y, 3.3m2y, 3.6m7y, 6.6m5y, 5.6m4y, 10.6m4y, 9.0m4y, 8.5m
Jupiter2y, 4.0m2y, 6.6m2y, 8.8m3y, 1.0m3y, 8.1m3y, 10.9m3y, 11.3m3y, 11.7m3y, 11.8m19y, 9.6m13y, 9.9m12y, 9.5m12y, 5.7m
Saturn5y, 6.8m5y, 10.2m6y, 1.0m6y, 6.5m7y, 3.6m7y, 7.0m7y, 7.5m7y, 8.0m7y, 8.1m10y, 0.6m45y, 9.8m36y, 2.1m33y, 8.8m
Uranus15y, 3.9m15y, 8.7m16y, 0.6m16y, 8.1m17y, 8.4m18y, 0.9m18y, 1.7m18y, 2.4m18y, 2.5m21y, 3.8m27y, 3.6m171y, 12.0m127y, 11.2m
Neptune29y, 8.2m30y, 2.1m30y, 7.0m31y, 4.3m32y, 7.4m33y, 0.9m33y, 1.9m33y, 2.7m33y, 2.8m36y, 12.0m44y, 1.2m61y, 1.1m499y, 4.3m
Pluto44y, 1.1m44y, 7.8m45y, 1.4m46y, 0.0m47y, 5.1m47y, 11.4m48y, 0.5m48y, 1.4m48y, 1.6m52y, 4.4m60y, 3.6m78y, 11.6m101y, 11.3m

Moons of Mars


Moons of Jupiter

Metis31d, 21h17h9h8h7h7h7h7h
Io11h11h13h3d, 13h2d, 8h1d, 23h1d, 19h1d, 19h
Europa20h20h22h1d, 7h7d, 1h4d, 12h3d, 14h3d, 14h
Ganymede1d, 12h1d, 12h1d, 14h2d, 2h2d, 15h12d, 12h7d, 9h7d, 9h
Callisto3d, 6h3d, 6h3d, 9h3d, 24h4d, 16h5d, 19h17d, 21h17d, 20h
Himalia45d, 2h45d, 2h45d, 9h46d, 19h48d, 6h50d, 16h55d, 16h7050d, 0h
Elara46d, 17h46d, 17h47d, 1h48d, 11h49d, 23h52d, 9h57d, 11h127d, 16h

Moons of Saturn

Epimetheus1405d, 13h2d, 16h1d, 10h1d, 2h22h20h17h17h
Janus8h2d, 16h1d, 10h1d, 2h22h20h17h17h
Mimas10h10h3d, 1h1d, 21h1d, 11h1d, 5h1d, 0h23h
Enceladus12h12h14h5d, 0h2d, 18h1d, 23h1d, 12h1d, 9h
Tethys15h15h17h19h6d, 2h3d, 6h2d, 3h1d, 22h
Dione19h19h21h1d, 0h1d, 4h6d, 23h3d, 7h2d, 20h
Rhea1d, 4h1d, 4h1d, 6h1d, 10h1d, 13h1d, 19h6d, 7h4d, 19h
Titan3d, 9h3d, 9h3d, 12h3d, 16h3d, 22h4d, 5h4d, 20h19d, 23h
Iapetus14d, 22h14d, 22h15d, 3h15d, 11h15d, 19h16d, 8h17d, 6h21d, 20h

Moons of Uranus

Miranda4d, 4h2d, 13h1d, 22h1d, 19h
Ariel1d, 0h6d, 11h3d, 14h3d, 3h
Umbriel1d, 9h1d, 16h7d, 23h6d, 0h
Titania2d, 8h2d, 16h3d, 3h24d, 13h
Oberon3d, 7h3d, 15h4d, 4h5d, 12h

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