Table of contents
About this book
The range of solar sailing is very vast; it is a fully in-space means of propellantless propulsion that should allow us to accomplish various mission classes that are unviable using near or medium-term rocket propulsion, no matter if nuclear or electric. Fast and very fast solar sailings are special classes of sailcraft missions, initially developed only in the first half of the 1990s and still evolving, especially after the latest advances in nanotechnology.
This book describes how to plan, compute and optimize the trajectories of sailcraft with speeds considerably higher than the Earth’s orbital speed (30 km/s); such sailcraft would be able to explore the outer heliosphere, the near interstellar medium and the solar gravitational lens (550-800 astronomical units) in times significantly shorter than the span of an average career (~ 35 years), just to cite a few examples. The scientific interest in this type of exploration is huge.