Novel solar sail mission concepts for Space weather forecasting

Heiligers, Jeannette and McInnes, Colin (2014) Novel solar sail mission concepts for Space weather forecasting. In: 24th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting 2014, 2014-01-26 - 2014-01-30, New Mexico.

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    Abstract

    This paper proposes two novel solar sail concepts for space weather forecasting: heliocentric Earth-following orbits and Sun-Earth line confined solar sail manifolds. The first exploits a solar sail acceleration to rotate the argument of perihelion such that aphelion, where extended observations can take place, is always located along the Sun-Earth line. The second concept exploits a solar sail acceleration to keep the unstable, sunward manifolds of a solar sail Halo orbit around a sub-L1 point close to the Sun-Earth line. By travelling upstream of space weather events, these manifolds then allow early warnings for such events. The orbital dynamics involved with both concepts will be investigated and the observation conditions in terms of the time spent within a predefined surveillance zone are evaluated. All analyses are carried out for current sail technology (i.e. Sunjammer sail performance) to make the proposed concepts feasible in the near-term. The heliocentric Earth-following orbits show a reasonable increase in useful observation time over inertially fixed, Keplerian orbits, while the manifold concept enables a significant increase in the warning time for space weather events compared to existing satellites at the classical L1 point.