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Dynamic and structural performances of a new sailcraft concept for interplanetary missions

Peloni, Alessandro and Barbera, Daniele and Laurenzi, Susanna and Circi, Christian (2015) Dynamic and structural performances of a new sailcraft concept for interplanetary missions. The Scientific World Journal, 2015. ISSN 2356-6140

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Abstract

Typical square solar-sail design is characterised by a central hub with four-quadrant sails, conferring to the spacecraft the classical X-configuration. One of the critical aspects related to this architecture is due to the large deformations of both membrane and booms, which leads to a reduction of the performance of the sailcraft in terms of thrust efficiency. As a consequence, stiffer sail architecture would be desirable, taking into account that the rigidity of the system strongly affects the orbital dynamics. In this paper, we propose a new solar-sail architecture, which is more rigid than the classical X-configuration. Among the main pros and cons that the proposed configuration presents, this paper aims to show the general concept, investigating the performances from the perspectives of both structural response and attitude control. Membrane deformations, structural offset, and sail vibration frequencies are determined through finite element method, adopting a variable pretensioning scheme. In order to evaluate the manoeuvring performances of this new solar-sail concept, a 35-degree manoeuvre is studied using a feedforward and feedback controller.