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Open Access research that challenges the mind...

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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Impact of optical degredation on solar sail mission performance

Macdonald, M. and McInnes, C.R. and Dachwald, Bernd (2007) Impact of optical degredation on solar sail mission performance. Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, 44 (4). pp. 740-749. ISSN 0022-4650

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The optical properties of the thin metalized polymer films that are projected for solar sails are likely to be affected by the damaging effects of the space environment, but their real degradation behavior is to a great extent unknown. The standard solar sail force models that are currently used for solar sail mission analysis and design do not take these effects into account. In this paper we use a parametric model to describe the sail film's optical degradation with its environmental history to estimate the impact of different degradation behaviors on solar sail mission performance for some example interplanetary missions: Mercury rendezvous missions, fast missions to Neptune and to the heliopause, and artificial Lagrange-point missions.