Simple plane change — Lesson 3

A simple plane change puts a satellite in one orbital plane into another, meaning there is a change in its inclination. For a change in inclination between two circular orbits a burn can be performed at the ascending or descending node of the orbital plane.

The equation for Δv for the plane change is given by:

Δv = 2 v sin⁡(Δi/2)

This implies two important findings:

1) A large inclination change, over 60ᵒ causes

Δv > v

2) Inclination changes at slower v, requires less Δv. Therefore, inclination maneuvers at apoapsis require less Δv.