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Solar Sailing pp 229-270 | Cite as

Mission application case studies

  • Colin Robert McInnes
Part of the Astronomy and Planetary Sciences book series (PRAXIS)

Abstract

Conventional spacecraft have long been utilised for a diverse range of Earth observation, planetary science and space physics mission applications. While these missions have revolutionised our knowledge and understanding of the solar system, they have inevitably been limited by the use of chemical propulsion, both alone and in combination with gravity assist manoeuvres. Most noticeably, almost all interplanetary missions to-date have been constrained to the ecliptic plane, in part due to the energy requirements for injecting spacecraft into out-of-ecliptic trajectories. Likewise, to-date there has not been a comet rendezvous mission, a planetary sample return mission or a dedicated fast mission to the outer solar system beyond 100 au. All of these missions are either greatly enhanced or indeed enabled by solar sail propulsion. While attitudes to new propulsion technologies are now changing, as evidenced by flight tests of solar electric propulsion, solar sailing has yet to catch up with its long-term rival. As will be seen, however, some mission applications are absolutely unique to solar sailing and so represent a trump card for proponents of solar sailing to use to advance their views. Therefore, if missions with unrivalled scientific or operational value in which solar sailing truly enables the mission can be identified, then solar sailing will at last be demonstrated in orbit.

Keywords

Solar Wind Solar Radiation Pressure Halo Orbit Solar Sail Precession Rate 
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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Further Reading

Solar storm missions

  1. West, J.L., ‘NOAA/DOD/NASA Geostorm Warning Mission’, JPL D-13986, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, October 1996.Google Scholar
  2. Prado, J.Y., Perret, A., Pignolet, G. & Dandouras, I., ‘Using a Solar Sail for a Plasma Storm Early Warning System’, IAA-96-IAA.3.3.06, 47th International Astronautical Congress, October 1996.Google Scholar
  3. McInnes, C.R., ‘Solar Sail Performance Requirements for the Geostorm Warning Mission’, DR-9623, Dept of Aerospace Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, October 1996.Google Scholar
  4. McInnes, C.R., ‘Solar Sail Force Model and Up-dated Performance Requirements for the Geostorm Warning Mission’, DR-9805, Dept of Aerospace Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, May 1998.Google Scholar

Solar polar missions

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Mercury orbiter missions

  1. French, J.R. & Wright, J., ‘Solar Sail Missions to Mercury’, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 40, 543–550, 1987.ADSGoogle Scholar
  2. Leipold, M., Borg, E., Lingner, S., Pabsch, A., Sachs, R. & Seboldt, W., ‘Mercury Orbiter with a Solar Sail Spacecraft’, Acta Astronautica, 35, Suppl., 635–644, 1995.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Non-Keplerian orbits

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Outer solar system missions

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Miscellaneous

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  7. Prado, J.Y., ‘Low Cost Mission Opportunities Using a Solar Sail in Addition to Ariane V’, COSPAR 98, Nagoya, July 1998.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin Robert McInnes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Aerospace EngineeringUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowScotland

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