Considerations of Electric Sailcraft Trajectory Design

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G. Mangali; A. A. Quarta; P. Janhunen (2008), JBIS, 61, 326-329

Refcode: 2008.61.326
Keywords: Electric sail, mission design, trajectory optimisation

Outgoing optimal (minimum time) trajectories for electric sail spacecraft are calculated. The study includes trajectories for reaching a distance of 100 AU from the Sun, escape trajectories, and missions aimed at obtaining a flyby with Uranus or Neptune. The results are parameterized as a function of the electric sail acceleration at 1 AU. Using an electric sail of modest complexity, the attainable flight-times are quite attractive. Because no gravity assists are used, the mission trajectories investigated do not suffer of complications such as rare launch windows. Missions with coast arcs (in which the propulsion is switched off at some point) are also analyzed, because they might be needed for outgoing missions which include the Pioneer anomaly study.

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