The Sailcraft Splitting Concept

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G. Vulpetti (2006), JBIS, 59, 48-53

Refcode: 2006.59.48
Keywords: Fast solar sailing, sailcraft mass breakdown, H-reversal solar flyby, interstellar probe

This paper presents a concept regarding two advanced solar sailing missions by one sailcraft launch. Each flight can support a multi-target mission. Each mission is an extra-solar solar mission toward the interstellar space, one being directed to the heliopause nose. The first key point is that the initial spacecraft, here called the carrier , is arranged into two smaller sailcraft, here named the xebec and the clipper . The second key point is that the sail technology is the same for both sailcraft, but with different vehicle mass and sail area. Both xebec and clipper are deployed when the carrier is deployed. The carrier accomplishes a close solar flyby. Past the perihelion, the carrier splits into the xebec and the clipper, to which pertain two different sailcraft sail loading values. If the carrier exhibits a total sail loading of 1 g/m2, then it is possible to design a xebec with 1.3 g/m2 and a clipper with 0.6 g/m2. As a consequence, the optimal cruise speeds of xebec and clipper result in 21.0 and 30.6 AU/year, respectively. If this carrier were designed as one sailcraft for one mission, its optimal speed toward the heliopause would be 24.2 AU/year.

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