Control of solar sail periodic orbits in the elliptic three-body problem

James D. Biggs, Colin R. McInnes, Thomas Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


A solar sail essentially consists of a large mirror that uses the momentum change due to photons reflecting off the sail for its impulse. Solar sails are therefore unique spacecraft, as they do not require fuel for propulsion [1]. In this Note we consider using the solar sail to continuously maintain a periodic orbit above the ecliptic plane using variations in the sail's orientation. Positioning a spacecraft continuously above the ecliptic would allow continuous observation and communication with the poles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-320
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • solar sails
  • elliptic three-body problem
  • elliptic plane
  • space travel
  • space communications


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