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Time-optimal trajectories to circumsolar space using solar electric propulsion

Quarta, Alessandro A. and Izzo, Dario and Vasile, Massimiliano (2013) Time-optimal trajectories to circumsolar space using solar electric propulsion. Advances in Space Research, 51 (3). pp. 411-422. ISSN 0273-1177

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to explore the capabilities of a solar electric propelled spacecraft on a mission towards circumsolar space. Using an indirect approach, the paper investigates minimum time of transfer (direct) trajectories from an initial heliocentric parking orbit to a desired final heliocentric target orbit, with a low perihelion radius and a high orbital inclination. The simulation results are then collected into graphs and tables for a trade-off analysis of the main mission parameters. Finally, a comparison of the performance between a solar electric and a (photonic) solar sail based spacecraft is discussed.