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Solar Sails pp 199-224 | Cite as

Sailcraft Trajectories

  • Giovanni Vulpetti
  • Les Johnson
  • Gregory L. Matloff

We are nearing the end of this introductory book on solar sailing. We saved one of the most intriguing topics—trajectory design—for last. However, it is beyond the scope of this book to delve deeply into mathematics and the related physical aspects. So after a very short presentation of the sailcraft motion equations, we discuss the class of trajectories (and missions) via several technical plots. Some trajectories have been designed in past decades, some were investigated in the first years of this century, and some have been calculated specifically for this book by means of modern (and very complex) computer codes. This chapter discusses sailcraft motion equations in their simple form, using no additional mathematics; presents generalized Keplerian orbits that only sailcraft can draw; describes interplanetary transfer by solar sailing; describes some of the new striking features solar-sail propulsion offers, such as the possibility of designing orbits that differ from the Keplerian ones significantly, which allows a mission designer to move beyond the limits of conventional spacecraft; discusses the behavior of a sailcraft under the gravitational influence of more than one celestial body; highlights the so-called artificial equilibrium points; explains the high nonlinear feature of very low sail-loading sailcraft.

Keywords

European Space Agency Solar Sailing Keplerian Orbit Attitude Maneuver Cruise Speed 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Praxis Publishing, Ltd 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giovanni Vulpetti
    • 1
  • Les Johnson
    • 2
  • Gregory L. Matloff
    • 3
  1. 1.International Academy of AstronauticsParisFrance
  2. 2.NASA Marshall Space Flight CenterHuntsvilleUSA
  3. 3.New York City college of TechnologyBrooklynUSA

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