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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including those from the School of Psychological Sciences & Health - but also papers by researchers based within the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, and from the Strathclyde Business School.

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Solar sail hybrid trajectory optimization for non-Keplerian orbit transfers

Hughes, Gareth W. and McInnes, Colin (2002) Solar sail hybrid trajectory optimization for non-Keplerian orbit transfers. Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics, 25 (3). pp. 602-604. ISSN 0731-5090

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Abstract

SOLAR sails have long been seen as an attractive concept for low-thrust propulsion.They transcend reliance on reaction mass and have the ability to provide a small, but continuous, acceleration. Because propellant mass is not an issue, high-performance sails can enable new exotic non-Keplerianor bits (NKOs)1 that are not feasible for conventional chemical or electric propulsion.A constant out-of plane sail force is utilized to raise the spacecraft's orbit high above the ecliptic plane in two- or three-body systems. Potential beneŽfits to the science community are large. Circular, displaced orbits can be used to provide continuous observation of the solar poles or to provide a unique vantage point for infrared astronomy. (There is much less resolution-limiting dust out of the ecliptic plane enabling smaller telescope mirror dimensions for equivalent performance.) Very high performance sails can even levitate, in equilibrium, at any point in space.