what is characteristic energy or C3 in spaceflight

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what is characteristic energy or C3 in spaceflight

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Every massive body has what is called “escape energy”, which is the energy required for an object to escape the gravitational influence of the body. Basically, how hard do you have to chuck it so that it won’t come falling back eventually.

Characteristic energy or C3 is the excess specific energy (energy per unit mass) beyond that escape energy. So if your object can escape the massive object, how much more energy does it have to keep going.