Parking Orbit Publishing is the official place to order N.D. Melander's "Icarus Falling" novel. It is also where discussions can take place about the strange and paranormal. Any updates and other stories that might be written or published will be announced here.

You might ask what Parking Orbit refers to? The answer is fairly simple; a temporary orbit by a spacecraft. The reasons for this maneuver, as explained in wikipedia is that:

  • It can increase the launch window. For earth-escape missions, these are often quite short (seconds to minutes) if no parking orbit is used. With a parking orbit, these can often be increased up to several hours.[1][2]
  • For non-LEO missions, the desired location for the final burn may not be in a convenient spot. In particular, for earth-escape missions that want good northern coverage of the trajectory, the correct place for the final burn is often in the southern hemisphere.
  • For geostationary orbit missions, the correct spot for the final (or next to final) firing is normally on the equator. In such a case, the rocket is launched, coasts in a parking orbit until it is over the equator, then fires again into a geostationary transfer orbit.[3]
  • For manned lunar missions, a parking orbit allowed some checkout while still close to home, before committing to the lunar trip.[2]
  • It is needed if the desired orbit has a high perigee. In this case the booster launches into an elliptical parking orbit, then coasts until a higher point in the orbit, then fires again to raise the perigee. See Hohmann transfer orbit. In this case the use of a parking orbit can also reduce the fuel usage of an inclination change, since these take less delta-V at high elevations.
For science fiction fans, it has been used to describe temporary visitation of a planet while members of the crew investigate the surface. An example would be the many times in Star Trek when the Enterprise comes to a new planet. It circles the alien globe while Kirk, Spock, and Co. beam down or land in a shuttle. After the mission is finished, they will leave the temporary orbit and go off to explore other strange new worlds.