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Control of solar sail periodic orbits in the elliptic three-body problem

Biggs, James D. and McInnes, Colin R. and Waters, Thomas (2009) Control of solar sail periodic orbits in the elliptic three-body problem. Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics, 32 (1). pp. 318-320. ISSN 1533-3884

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Abstract

A solar sail essentially consists of a large mirror that uses the momentum change due to photons reflecting off the sail for its impulse. Solar sails are therefore unique spacecraft, as they do not require fuel for propulsion [1]. In this Note we consider using the solar sail to continuously maintain a periodic orbit above the ecliptic plane using variations in the sail's orientation. Positioning a spacecraft continuously above the ecliptic would allow continuous observation and communication with the poles.