The Planetary Grand Tour trajectory of Voyager 2.

Slingshotting is a practice where a pilot uses the gravity well of an astronomical body to get a boost in velocity. Slingshotting in The Expanse is also an illegal extreme sport.

Gravitational-assist maneuver[edit | edit source]

Slingshotting is done by passing through a gravity well (it's also good to avoid hitting the atmosphere), but with enough relative velocity to avoid going into orbit. A portion of the momentum of the central body is thus imparted to the slingshotting craft, and if it's a planet, it has a whole lot of momentum to spare. The technique is more formally known as a gravitational assist.

The maneuver can either accelerate you or decelerate you, depending on whether you approach the gravity well prograde (accelerating) or retrograde (decelerating).

The slingshot maneuver is different from aerobraking, wherein the planet's atmosphere is used to slow down or change the orbit of a spacecraft.

Slingshot racing[edit | edit source]

Slingshot Racing is an illegal, dangerous extreme sport practiced mostly by Belters. The ships they use to race are usually homemade one-person craft that fly through space using only a single thrust of the engine and a carefully plotted course. They compete by "slingshotting" around the gravity wells of planets and other celestial bodies, vying for the fast time across an established circuit. Glory awaits those who survive.[1]

Slingshot circuits[edit | edit source]

Jupiter-6 Slingshot Run

Slingshot racers[edit | edit source]

Slingshot racing ships[edit | edit source]

In the series[edit | edit source]

Slingshotting is a maneuver routinely used by either civilian pilots that wish to save fuel or military pilots who wish to gain an extra amount of velocity and/or wish to rapidly change their direction, as slingshotting is the only way to fly a "right angle" quickly.

Media[edit | edit source]


Alright, Darling! Saddle Up! Slingshot Time.

Events[edit | edit source]

Occurrences (TV)
Description Episode Timestamp Vessel Character Participant
Evading MCRN blockade over Jupiter AO and Ganymede "Here There Be Dragons" 25:09 Rocinante Alex Kamal
Enthusiast Club and Gambling Ring "CQB" 13:40 Piper Scout the real Bizi Betiko
Belter slingshot racing vignette "Delta-V" 2:48 Y Que Manéo Jung-Espinoza
Occurences (Books)
Description Book Chapter & Page Vessel Character Participant
Extreme sport Abaddon's Gate Prologue Y Que Manéo Jung-Espinoza AKA Néo

See also[edit | edit source]


  1. Icon-link-24x24.png The Expanse Fun facts, Season 1 Episode 4
  2. The Expanse TV Series - Season 1, Episode 4: "CQB"
  3. The Expanse TV Series - Season 3, Episode 7: "Delta-V"
  4. The Expanse TV Series - Season 5, Episode 3: "Mother"

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