Large morphing spacecraft for flexible science missions

Andreas Borggrafe, Jeannette Heiligers, Matteo Ceriotti, Colin McInnes

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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Solar sail technology offers a new capability to enable fast, efficient and low cost science missions throughout the Solar system. Uniquely, solar sails exploit the flux of momentum transported by solar photons to generate a thrust force and thus do not rely on a propellant like conventional, chemical and electric thrusters. The mission duration is therefore only limited by the lifetime of the onboard subsystems and the integrity of the lightweight sail membrane. This makes a solar sail the ideal candidate for a wide range of space missions, including space weather forecasting and exploration of asteroids. However, the thrust from solar radiation pressure is limited to be always directed away from the Sun, and its magnitude follows an inverse square law with solar distance, making the sail less efficient at large distances from the Sun.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2013
EventSET for Britain 2013 - Westminster, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 18 Mar 201318 Mar 2013


ConferenceSET for Britain 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityWestminster, London


  • solar sailing
  • sailcraft
  • platform
  • modelling and assessment
  • gossamer spacecraft
  • optical reconfiguration
  • phased array


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