An earth pole-sitter using hybrid propulsion

M. Ceriotti, C.R. McInnes

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
130 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper we investigate optimal pole-sitter orbits using hybrid solar sail and solar electric propulsion (SEP). A pole-sitter is a spacecraft that is constantly above one of the Earth's poles, by means of a continuous thrust. Optimal orbits, that minimize propellant mass consumption, are found both through a shape-based approach, and solving an optimal control problem, using a direct method based on pseudo-spectral techniques. Both the pure SEP case and the hybrid case are investigated and compared. It is found that the hybrid spacecraft allows consistent savings on propellant mass fraction. Finally, is it shown that for sufficiently long missions (more than 8 years), a hybrid spacecraft, based on mid-term technology, enables a consistent reduction in the launch mass for a given payload, with respect to a pure SEP spacecraft.
Original languageEnglish
Pagesarticle: AIAA-2010
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2010
EventAIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference 2010 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 2 Aug 20105 Aug 2010


ConferenceAIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference 2010
CityToronto, Canada


  • hybrid solar sail propulsion
  • solar electric propulsion
  • pole-sitter orbits
  • propellant mass fraction


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