Optimal trajectories for non-ideal solar sails

Timothy Cichan, Robert Graham Melton

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Typically, an ideal force model for solar sails, including perfect reflectivity of a flat sail surface, has been used to examine light pressure effects. For this analysis, two non-ideal force models are also examined. An imperfect reflectivity (optical) model includes differences in the magnitude and direction of the force imparted by the light pressure on a flat sail, and a parameterized force model includes the effects of imperfect reflectivity and sail billowing. This paper examines some optimized interplanetary trajectories to compare the results from the three force models, and to evaluate the feasibility of a solar sail as propulsion for a mission. Feasible trajectories are found using the non-ideal force models, with a significant difference from the ideal sail trajectory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2381-2391
Number of pages11
JournalAdvances in the Astronautical Sciences
Volume109 III
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
EventProceeings of the AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Conference - Quebec City, Que., Canada
Duration: Jul 30 2001Aug 2 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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