High energy small body missions using solar sail propulsion

Colin McInnes, Gareth W. Hughes, M. Macdonald

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


A range of mission concepts will be discussed which explore the use of solar sail propulsion for high-energy small body missions. It will be shown that a modest sized solar sail can enable high energy small body sample return from extremely demanding targets, while a larger solar sail can quickly deliver a significant payload to high eccentricity comets. Lastly, it will be shown that potentially hazardous near Earth asteroids can be deflected using kinetic energy impacts by using a solar sail to deliver the impactor to a high-energy retrograde orbit.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 56th International Astronautical Congress
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • solar sails
  • propulsion
  • mechanical engineering
  • control systems
  • guidance systems


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