Concept

# Hyperbolic trajectory

Summary
In astrodynamics or celestial mechanics, a hyperbolic trajectory or hyperbolic orbit is the trajectory of any object around a central body with more than enough speed to escape the central object's gravitational pull. The name derives from the fact that according to Newtonian theory such an orbit has the shape of a hyperbola. In more technical terms this can be expressed by the condition that the orbital eccentricity is greater than one. Under simplistic assumptions a body traveling along this trajectory will coast towards infinity, settling to a final excess velocity relative to the central body. Similarly to parabolic trajectories, all hyperbolic trajectories are also escape trajectories. The specific energy of a hyperbolic trajectory orbit is positive. Planetary flybys, used for gravitational slingshots, can be described within the planet's sphere of influence using hyperbolic trajectories. Like an elliptical orbit, a hyperbolic trajectory for a given system can be defined (ignoring orientation) by its semi major axis and the eccentricity. However, with a hyperbolic orbit other parameters may be more useful in understanding a body's motion. The following table lists the main parameters describing the path of body following a hyperbolic trajectory around another under standard assumptions and the formula connecting them. Characteristic energy The semi major axis () is not immediately visible with an hyperbolic trajectory but can be constructed as it is the distance from periapsis to the point where the two asymptotes cross. Usually, by convention, it is negative, to keep various equations consistent with elliptical orbits. The semi major axis is directly linked to the specific orbital energy () or characteristic energy of the orbit, and to the velocity the body attains at as the distance tends to infinity, the hyperbolic excess velocity (). or where: is the standard gravitational parameter and is characteristic energy, commonly used in planning interplanetary missions Note that the total energy is positive in the case of a hyperbolic trajectory (whereas it is negative for an elliptical orbit).