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EPRC is a leading institute in Europe for comparative research on public policy, with a particular focus on regional development policies. Spanning 30 European countries, EPRC research programmes have a strong emphasis on applied research and knowledge exchange, including the provision of policy advice to EU institutions and national and sub-national government authorities throughout Europe.

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Artificial three-body equilibria for hybrid low-thrust propulsion

Baig, Shahid and McInnes, Colin R. (2008) Artificial three-body equilibria for hybrid low-thrust propulsion. Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics, 31 (6). pp. 1644-1655. ISSN 1533-3884

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Abstract

This paper proposes a new concept of creating artificial equilibrium points in the circular restricted three body problem, where the third body uses a hybrid of solar sail and solar electric propulsion. The work aims to investigate the use of a hybrid sail for artificial equilibrium points that are technologically di±cult with either of these propulsion systems alone. The hybrid sail has freedom in specifying the sail lightness number, then minimizing the required thrust acceleration from the solar electric propulsion thruster while satisfying the equilibrium condition. The stability analysis of such artificial equilibrium points by a linear method results in a linear time varying (mass) system. The freezing time method then provides unstable and marginally stable regions for hybrid solar sail artificial equilibria. We compare these propulsion systems with a given payload mass and mission life for a polar observation mission. For a near term sail assembly loading we find for the hybrid sail a substantially lower propellant mass compared to solar electric propulsion and lower sail length with respect to a solar sail, and a lower initial spacecraft mass.