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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Department of Computer & Information Sciences involved in mathematically structured programming, similarity and metric search, computer security, software systems, combinatronics and digital health.

The Department also includes the iSchool Research Group, which performs leading research into socio-technical phenomena and topics such as information retrieval and information seeking behaviour.

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Mercury sample return missions using solar sail propulsion

Hughes, Gareth W. and McInnes, Colin (2002) Mercury sample return missions using solar sail propulsion. In: Proceedings of the 53rd Astronautical Federation Congress. AIAA.

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Abstract

The use of solar sail propulsion is investigated for both Mercury orbiter (MO) and Mercury sample return missions (MeSR). It will be demonstrated that solar sail propulsion can significantly reduce launch mass and enhance payload mass fractions for MO missions, while MeSR missions are enabled, again with a relatively low launch mass. Previous investigations of MeSR type missions using solar electric propulsion have identified a requirement for an Ariane V launcher to deliver a lander and sample return vehicle. The analysis presented in this paper demonstrates that, in principle, a MeSR mission can be enabled using a single Soyuz-Fregat launch vehicle, leading to significant reductions in launch mass and mission costs. Similarly, it will be demonstrated that the full payload of the ESA Bepi Colombo orbiter mission can be delivered to Mercury using a Soyuz-Fregat launch vehicle, rather than Ariane V, again leading to a reduction in mission costs.