MSI Friends and Alumni: Gravitational slingshot and space mission design

Professor Pawel Nurowski will be presenting a special lecture for MSI's Alumni, friends and colleagues. The presentation will be followed by drinks, hors-d’oeuvres and a chance to meet and chat with the speaker and other members of the MSI. 

Attendance at these special lectures is by invitation only, so if you would like to attend, please register as a friend of MSI to receive your invitation. 


When planning a space mission the weight of the spacecraft is the main issue. Every gram sent into the outer space costs a lot. A considerable part of the overal weight of the spaceship consists of a fuel needed to control it. I will explain how space agencies reduce the amount of fuel needed to go to a given place in the Solar System by using gravity of celestial bodies encountered along the trip. I will start with the explanation of an old trick called `gravitational slingshot', and end up with a modern technique which is based on the analysys of a 3-body problem appearing in Newtonian mechanics.

About the speaker

Pawel Nurowski is a distinguished Polish mathematician, well known for his work on conformal geometry and exceptional holonomy, but with exceptionally broad scientific interests, ranging from pure differential geometry to observational astrophysics. He is much in demand worldwide as a speaker, with an exemplary and accessible style.



Date & time

5.30–7.30pm 31 October 2013


Professor Pawel Nurowski


 Brittany Shoard

Updated:  25 March 2018/Responsible Officer:  Director/Page Contact:  School Manager