Why are rockets not launched when the moon is high?

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Arthur Lubenfeld <>

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Arthur Lubenfeld <> asked the Naked Scientists:
On your podcast on 8/8/13 (you can tell how behind I am) an astronomer mentioned that "you do not launch when the moon is high". No explanation was given regarding this. Could you explain?

Arthur Lubenfeld
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 13/04/2014 11:46:59 by _system »


Offline CliffordK

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Re: Why are rockets not launched when the moon is high?
« Reply #1 on: 24/04/2014 17:50:58 »
I'm not finding the referenced podcast.

I don't see why a LEO or even a geostationary orbital launch would be significantly affected by the moon.  Presumably gravity would be reduced slightly by the moon being either direcly overhead, or on the opposite side of the earth, but the difference would be minuscule. 

Launches to other planets, or into a solar orbit frequently use the moon as a gravity assist, or to help alter the course of the rocket.  However to do so, the exact place of the encounter has to be carefully planned, perhaps giving a fairly narrow launch window.  Undoubtedly as the rocket launches in an Eastward curve, the location for the lunar encounter would not be directly overhead.