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Delta-v chart in the Solar System

Delta-v (change of velocity) is the change of speed a spaceship needs to do in order to get from an orbit to another, to land, launch or perform different tasks.

Delta-v Budget

Delta-v budget is the sum of changes in speed conducted by a spaceship during its mission. For example, a ship traveling from a Venus to a satellite of Saturn will require multiple engine burns, changing its velocity many times. By adding all these changes, we can get the delta-v budget.

How To Calculate

There are many delta-v maps available on the internet. However, all of them come with routes almost only from and to the Earth.

However, at some point, settlers will develop alternative transit routes to other destinations. For example, a colony on Saturn's moon Iapetus might be interested in minerals brought from Ceres.

Formulas are listed on Math And Terraforming and on Planetary Parameters.

The image on top-right of this article is a summary of all major Trade Routes expected to occur in the Solar System. Future Space Stations are also included, because most cargo will be shipped during flight windows with massive ships, that, because of their huge sizes, cannot land on a celestial body with high gravity.

The map includes delta-v energy requires for jumping between orbits around a celestial body. For example, the numbers listed on chart 1, indicate the delta-v required for changing between an orbit and another. More exactly, the value shown for Earth-Jupiter is the delta-v required to pass from Earth orbit to Jupiter orbit around the Sun. For the chart of Jupiter system, the value for a Io-Himalia is the delta-v required for jumping from Io's orbit to Himalia's orbit.

The values listed on top, with a red arrow, indicate the delta-v required to escape/enter the Hill sphere (sphere of influence). For example, on Earth system, the value indicated for Moon shows the delta-v needed to escape from Moon orbit around the Earth to Earth's orbit around the Sun or the delta-v needed to travel from Earth's orbit around the Sun to the orbit of the Moon around Earth.

On right, you can see values for entering low orbit and for landing. For example, for Moon (around Earth), the first value shows the delta-v required to go from the orbit of the Moon (around Earth) to an orbit around the Moon, at 100 km high. The value for landing/launch represents the delta-v needed for landing on the Moon from Moon orbit or for reaching Moon orbit (100 km high) from Moon surface.

Nearly all values are in black. There are a few values listed in blue. They represent the delta-v required to switch between a prograde and a retrograde orbit.

Flying between two orbits requires usually two engine burns. The first burn will send you on an elliptic orbit, touching an orbit at apoapsis and the other orbit at periapsis. The second burn moves the ship from its elliptical trajectory to the second orbit. Most delta-v charts lack this part. Well, it is very important that, once you reach the targeted planet, you will need an engine burn to remain in orbit around it. This is why most delta-v charts give lower values then those listed here.

One can remark that the delta-v required for transfers to very far orbits is smaller then the delta-v required for traveling to closer orbits. This is not an error, but a true fact. Going from Earth to Sedna will require less fuel then going from earth to Eris. Even if the first engine burn will require more delta-v, the second will require far less delta-v, because at high distances gravity is very low.

Transfers between prograde and retrograde orbits require a different technique. The ship will conduct 3 engine burns. The first will move the ship from initial orbit to the limit of the Hill sphere. There, a second engine burn will change rotation direction. A third engine burn will insert the ship on the desired orbit.

Entry/exit transfers across the sphere of influence also require two engine burns, but one of them is very small.

Landing/launch requires also two engine burns: one to enter/exit orbit and one to land/launch. They don't include atmosphere friction, which can save huge energy while landing and can increase delta-v budget during launch. This is because once other planets and moons will be terraformed, their atmospheres will be completely changed.

In order to calculate a complex trajectory, like from Enceladus (Saturn) to Io (Jupiter) through Helene and Himalia stations, you need to add all the values on the way:

  • Enceladus launch --> Enceladus low orbit
  • Enceladus low orbit --> escape to Saturn orbit
  • Saturn Enceladus orbit --> Saturn Helene orbit
  • Saturn Helene orbit --> Helene low orbit
  • Helene low orbit --> Helene landing
  • Helene landing --> Helene low orbit
  • Helene low orbit --> Saturn Helene orbit
  • Saturn Helene orbit --> escape to Sun orbit
  • Sun Saturn orbit --> Sun Jupiter orbit
  • Enter Jupiter Hill sphere --> Jupiter Himalia orbit
  • Enter Himalia sphere of influence --> Himalia low orbit
  • Himalia low orbit --> Himalia landing
  • Himalia landing --> Himalia low orbit
  • Himalia low orbit --> Jupiter Himalia orbit
  • Jupiter Himalia orbit --> Jupiter Io orbit
  • Enter Io sphere of influence --> Io low orbit
  • Io low orbit --> Io landing.

Please note that sometimes I mixed delta-v values for entering orbit with delta-v values for landing. The value for landing is always the highest.

Also, many ships will prefer to use other ways to travel, which require less fuel. The use of Oberth effect, aerobraking and gravity assists can save a lot of fuel.

Solar System

The following list contains the delta-v budget required to travel between future Space Stations along future Trade Routes for the Solar System.

For comparison, an Earth surface - Moon surface flight will require a delta-v of 14.466 km/s.

Mercury

See also: Mercury Space Station

Mercury station – Venus station 13.987 
Mercury station – Earth station 19.309 
Mercury station – Mars Phobos 22.566 
Mercury station – Ceres station 24.871 
Mercury station – Jupiter Himalia 27.677 
Mercury station – Saturn Helene 30.457 
Mercury station – Uranus Perdita 28.699 
Mercury station – Neptune Halimede 24.564 
Mercury station – Pluto Styx 23.921 
Mercury station – Eris low orbit 23.472 
Mercury station – Sedna low orbit 21.676 
Mercury station – Mercury orbit (100 km) 0.851 
Mercury station – Mercury surface 3.095 

Venus

See also: Venus Space Station

Mercury station – Venus station 13.987 
Venus station – Earth station 8.609 
Venus station – Mars Phobos 12.953 
Venus station – Ceres station 16.969 
Venus station – Jupiter Himalia 21.184 
Venus station – Saturn Helene 24.872 
Venus station – Uranus Perdita 23.786 
Venus station – Neptune Halimede 19.808 
Venus station – Pluto Styx 19.361 
Venus station – Eris low orbit 19.057 
Venus station – Sedna low orbit 17.438 
Venus station – Venus orbit (100 km) 5.978 
Venus station – Venus surface 7.377 

Earth

See also: Earth Space Station

Mercury station – Earth station 19.309 
Venus station – Earth station 8.609 
Earth station – Mars Phobos 8.585 
Earth station – Ceres station 13.281 
Earth station – Jupiter Himalia 18.216 
Earth station – Saturn Helene 22.447 
Earth station – Uranus Perdita 21.763 
Earth station – Neptune Halimede 18.033 
Earth station – Pluto Styx 17.565 
Earth station – Eris low orbit 17.357 
Earth station – Sedna low orbit 15.858 
Earth station – Earth orbit (100 km) 3.468 
Earth station – Earth surface 11.425 
Earth station – Moon orbit 2.979 
Earth station – Moon surface 4.703 

Mars

See also: Phobos station

Mercury station – Mars Phobos 22.566 
Venus station – Mars Phobos 12.953 
Earth station – Mars Phobos 8.585 
Mars Phobos – Ceres station 7.274 
Mars Phobos – Jupiter Himalia 12.991 
Mars Phobos – Saturn Helene 17.914 
Mars Phobos – Uranus Perdita 17.786 
Mars Phobos – Neptune Halimede 14.287 
Mars Phobos – Pluto Styx 13.922 
Mars Phobos – Eris low orbit 13.858 
Mars Phobos – Sedna low orbit 12.539 
Phobos – Mars 4.876 
Phobos – Deimos 0.778 
Mars – Deimos 5.377 

Ceres

See also: Ceres Space Station

Mercury station – Ceres station 24.871 
Venus station – Ceres station 16.969 
Earth station – Ceres station 13.281 
Mars Phobos – Ceres station 7.274 
Ceres station – Jupiter Himalia 6.468 
Ceres station – Saturn Helene 12.613 
Ceres station – Uranus Perdita 13.323 
Ceres station – Neptune Halimede 9.849 
Ceres station – Pluto Styx 9.662 
Ceres station – Eris low orbit 9.853 
Ceres station – Sedna low orbit 8.867 
Ceres station – Ceres surface 0.561 

Jupiter

See also: Himalia station

Mercury station – Jupiter Himalia 27.677 
Venus station – Jupiter Himalia 21.184 
Earth station – Jupiter Himalia 18.216 
Mars Phobos – Jupiter Himalia 12.991 
Ceres station – Jupiter Himalia 6.468 
Jupiter Himalia – Saturn Helene 9.876 
Jupiter Himalia – Uranus Perdita 11.323 
Jupiter Himalia – Neptune Halimede 8.619 
Jupiter Himalia – Pluto Styx 8.637 
Jupiter Himalia – Eris low orbit 9.139 
Jupiter Himalia – Sedna low orbit 8.590 
Jupiter clouds – Jupiter orbit (1000 km) 42.816 
Jupiter orbit – Almathea 15.045 
Jupiter orbit – Io 23.842 
Jupiter orbit – Europa 24.550 
Jupiter orbit – Ganymede 25.694 
Jupiter orbit – Callisto 24.964 
Jupiter orbit – Himalia 20.368 
Almathea – Io 11.623 
Almathea – Europa 13.836 
Almathea – Ganymede 16.269 
Almathea – Callisto 16.792 
Almathea – Himalia 13.555 
Io – Europa 8.447 
Io – Ganymede 11.828 
Io – Callisto 13.427 
Io – Himalia 11.974 
Europa – Ganymede 8.318 
Europa – Callisto 10.886 
Europa – Himalia 9.731 
Ganymede – Callisto 8.386 
Ganymede – Himalia 8.946 
Callisto – Himalia 6.919 

Saturn

See also: Helene station

Mercury station – Saturn Helene 30.457 
Venus station – Saturn Helene 24.872 
Earth station – Saturn Helene 22.447 
Mars Phobos – Saturn Helene 17.914 
Ceres station – Saturn Helene 12.613 
Jupiter Himalia – Saturn Helene 9.876 
Saturn Helene – Uranus Perdita 11.335 
Saturn Helene – Neptune Halimede 9.978 
Saturn Helene – Pluto Styx 9.154 
Saturn Helene – Eris low orbit 10.029 
Saturn Helene – Sedna low orbit 10.010 
Saturn orbit (1000 km) – Saturn clouds 25.707 
Saturn orbit – Pan 8.128 
Saturn orbit – Mimas 10.626 
Saturn orbit – Enceladus 11.833 
Saturn orbit – Tethys 12.557 
Saturn orbit – Helene 12.772 
Saturn orbit – Dione 13.181 
Saturn orbit – Rhea 13.966 
Saturn orbit – Titan 16.471 
Saturn orbit – Hyperion 13.447 
Saturn orbit – Iapetus 13.484 
Saturn orbit – Phoebe 12.013 
Pan – Mimas 3.050 
Pan – Enceladus 4.405 
Pan – Tethys 5.738 
Pan – Helene 6.415 
Pan – Dione 6.824 
Pan – Rhea 8.201 
Pan – Titan 11.830 
Pan – Hyperion 8.985 
Pan – Iapetus 9.561 
Pan – Phoebe 8.497 
Mimas – Enceladus 1.752 
Mimas – Tethys 3.179 
Mimas – Helene 3.995 
Mimas – Dione 4.404 
Mimas – Rhea 5.998 
Mimas – Titan 10.142 
Mimas – Hyperion 7.391 
Mimas – Iapetus 8.239 
Mimas – Phoebe 7.447 
Enceladus – Tethys 1.976 
Enceladus – Helene 2.837 
Enceladus – Dione 3.347 
Enceladus – Rhea 4.927 
Enceladus – Titan 9.318 
Enceladus – Hyperion 6.617 
Enceladus – Iapetus 7.660 
Enceladus – Phoebe 6.987 
Tethys – Helene 1.750 
Tethys – Dione 2.159 
Tethys – Rhea 3.908 
Tethys – Titan 8.538 
Tethys – Hyperion 5.890 
Tethys – Iapetus 7.208 
Tethys – Phoebe 6.613 
Helene – Dione 0.441 
Helene – Rhea 2.232 
Helene – Titan 7.089 
Helene – Hyperion 4.498 
Helene – Iapetus 5.939 
Helene – Phoebe 5.644 
Dione – Rhea 2.641 
Dione – Titan 7.498 
Dione – Hyperion 4.907 
Dione – Iapetus 6.348 
Dione – Phoebe 6.053 
Rhea – Titan 6.432 
Rhea – Hyperion 3.908 
Rhea – Iapetus 5.630 
Rhea – Phoebe 5.701 
Titan – Hyperion 3.487 
Titan – Iapetus 5.752 
Titan – Phoebe 6.662 
Hyperion – Iapetus 2.365 
Hyperion – Phoebe 3.487 
Iapetus – Phoebe 3.255 

Uranus

See also: Perdita station

Mercury station – Uranus Perdita 28.699 
Venus station – Uranus Perdita 23.786 
Earth station – Uranus Perdita 21.763 
Mars Phobos – Uranus Perdita 17.786 
Ceres station – Uranus Perdita 13.323 
Jupiter Himalia – Uranus Perdita 11.323 
Saturn Helene – Uranus Perdita 11.335 
Uranus Perdita – Neptune Halimede 5.535 
Uranus Perdita – Pluto Styx 5.918 
Uranus Perdita – Eris low orbit 7.097 
Uranus Perdita – Sedna low orbit 7.245 
Uranus orbit (1000 km) – Uranus clouds 15.385 
Uranus orbit – Perdita 5.744 
Uranus orbit – Puck 6.183 
Uranus orbit – Miranda 7.299 
Uranus orbit – Ariel 8.251 
Uranus orbit – Umbriel 8.443 
Uranus orbit – Titania 8.753 
Uranus orbit – Oberon 8.725 
Uranus orbit – Sycorax 6.456 
Perdita – Puck 0.501 
Perdita – Miranda 2.115 
Perdita – Ariel 3.679 
Perdita – Umbriel 4.288 
Perdita – Titania 5.119 
Perdita – Oberon 5.334 
Perdita – Sycorax 4.266 
Puck – Miranda 1.784 
Puck – Ariel 3.293 
Puck – Umbriel 3.940
Puck – Titania 4.827 
Puck – Oberon 5.070 
Puck – Sycorax 4.138 
Miranda – Ariel 2.011 
Miranda – Umbriel 2.755 
Miranda – Titania 6.811 
Miranda – Oberon 4.150 
Miranda – Sycorax 3.626 
Ariel – Umbriel 2.043 
Ariel – Titania 3.215 
Ariel – Oberon 3.664 
Ariel – Sycorax 3.546 
Umbriel – Titania 2.394 
Umbriel – Oberon 2.863 
Umbriel – Sycorax 3.153 
Titania – Oberon 2.116 
Titania – Sycorax 2.944 
Oberon – Sycorax 2.747 

Neptune

See also: Halimede station

Mercury station – Neptune Halimede 24.564 
Venus station – Neptune Halimede 19.808 
Earth station – Neptune Halimede 18.033 
Mars Phobos – Neptune Halimede 14.287 
Ceres station – Neptune Halimede 9.849 
Jupiter Himalia – Neptune Halimede 8.619 
Saturn Helene – Neptune Halimede 9.978 
Uranus Perdita – Neptune Halimede 5.535 
Neptune Halimede – Pluto Styx 1.114 
Neptune Halimede – Eris low orbit 2.440 
Neptune Halimede – Sedna low orbit 3.595 
Neptune orbit (1000 km) – Neptune clouds 16.969 
Neptune orbit – Proteus 7.696 
Neptune orbit – Triton 10.297 
Neptune orbit – Nereid 7.785 
Neptune orbit – Halimede 7.210 
Proteus – Triton 6.964 
Proteus – Nereid 4.280 
Proteus – Halimede 3.877 
Triton – Nereid 4.183 
Triton – Halimede 3.698 
Nereid – Halimede 1.096 

Pluto

See also: Styx station

Mercury station – Pluto Styx 23.921 
Venus station – Pluto Styx 19.361 
Earth station – Pluto Styx 17.565 
Mars Phobos – Pluto Styx 13.922 
Ceres station – Pluto Styx 9.662 
Jupiter Himalia – Pluto Styx 8.637 
Saturn Helene – Pluto Styx 9.154 
Uranus Perdita – Pluto Styx 5.918 
Neptune Halimede – Pluto Styx 1.114 
Pluto Styx – Eris low orbit 1.540 
Pluto Styx – Sedna low orbit 2.780 
Pluto – Charon 1.997 
Pluto – Styx 1.334 
Pluto – Nix 1.337 
Pluto – Kerberos 1.334 
Pluto – Hydra 1.328 
Charon – Styx 0.762 
Charon – Nix 0.775 
Charon – Kerberos 0.784 
Charon – Hydra 0.786 
Styx – Nix 0.046 
Styx – Kerberos .058 
Styx – Hydra 0.061 
Nix – Kerberos 0.054 
Nix – Hydra 0.058 
Kerberos – Hydra 0.048 

Eris

Mercury station – Eris low orbit (100 km) 23.472 
Venus station – Eris low orbit 19.057 
Earth station – Eris low orbit 17.357 
Mars Phobos – Eris low orbit 13.858 
Ceres station – Eris low orbit 9.853 
Jupiter Himalia – Eris low orbit 9.139 
Saturn Helene – Eris low orbit 10.029 
Uranus Perdita – Eris low orbit 7.097 
Neptune Halimede – Eris low orbit 2.440 
Pluto Styx – Eris low orbit 1.540 
Eris low orbit – Sedna low orbit 2.552 
Eris – Eris orbit (100 km) 1.018 
Eris – Dysnomia 1.531 
Eris orbit – Dysnomia 0.513 

Sedna

Mercury station – Sedna low orbit 21.676 
Venus station – Sedna low orbit 17.438 
Earth station – Sedna low orbit 15.858 
Mars Phobos – Sedna low orbit 12.539 
Ceres station – Sedna low orbit 8.867 
Jupiter Himalia – Sedna low orbit 8.590
Saturn Helene – Sedna low orbit 10.010 
Uranus Perdita – Sedna low orbit 7.245 
Neptune Halimede – Sedna low orbit 3.595 
Pluto Styx – Sedna low orbit 2.780 
Eris low orbit – Sedna low orbit 2.552 
Sedna surface – Sedna orbit (100 km) 0.307 

For more details, look at the image on top-right of this page.

See Also

Space Travel In Other Solar Systems

Trade Routes

Space Stations

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