Flying on a Rainbow: A Solar-Driven Diffractive Sailcraft

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G. A Schwartzlander Jr. (2018), JBIS, 71, pp.130-132

Refcode: 2018.71.130
Keywords: Solar sailing, Sailcraft momentum, Diffraction and reflection

Radiation pressure afforded by natural broadband sunlight upon a transmissive diffractive sail is theoretically and numerically investigated. A grating period of one micrometer is found to convert 83% of the solar black body spectrum into sailcraft momentum. Non-optimized orbit-raising trajectories for diffractive and reflective sails are compared. Potential advantages of diffractive sails are also described.

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