Rocket performance parameters: inclination

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Rocket performance parameters: inclination

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jul. 8, 2011, 5:52pm

SpaceX gives a comparison of its Falcon Heavy compared to other heavy lift vehicles here. One parameter mentioned is "inclination". Does anyone know why that would be important? Also, am I correct in assuming it refers to the angle between the tangent of the desired orbit and the path of the craft approaching this orbit? Yes?

jul. 8, 2011, 10:29pm

To me, inclination means the angle the orbit makes to the equator. But it's dependent on the launch site, not the vehicle. Roughly speaking, any rocket launched from a particular site can't be launched into an orbit with a lower inclination than the latitude of the site. The inclinations listed mostly make sense, given that; but I don't understand the high value given for the Ariane, or the value for the China LM3B.

Why would it be important? Sorry, I don't know enough about it to be able to explain it. All I know is that a lower minimum inclination is more desirable.

gen. 26, 2012, 10:18am

Late to the party, but from looking at the table (and the data at the foot of the page) it seems that inclination relates to the launch site.