Mars sample return using solar sail propulsion

Les Johnson, Colin McInnes, Malcolm Macdonald, T. Percy

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther

Abstract

(Challenge Area 2: Safe and Accurate Landing Capabilities, Mars Ascent, and Innovative Exploration Architectures) Many Mars Sample Return (MSR) architecture studies have been conducted over the years. A key element of them is the Earth Return Stage (ERS) whose objective is to obtain the sample from the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) and return it safely to the surface of the Earth. ERS designs predominantly use chemical propulsion [1], incurring a significant launch mass penalty
due to the low specific impulse of such systems coupled with the launch mass sensitivity to returned mass. It is proposed to use solar sail propulsion for the ERS, providing a high (effective) specific impulse propulsion system in the final stage of the multi-stage system. By doing so to the launch mass of the orbiter mission can be significantly reduced and hence potentially decreasing mission cost. Further, solar sailing offers a unique set of non-Keplerian low thrust trajectories that may enable modifications to the current approach to designing the Earth Entry Vehicle by potentially reducing the Earth arrival velocity. This modification will further decrease the mass of the orbiter system. Solar sail propulsion uses sunlight to propel vehicles through space by reflecting solar photons from a large, mirror-like surface made of a lightweight, reflective material. The continuous photonic pressure provides propellantless thrust to conduct orbital maneuvering and plane changes more efficiently than conventional chemical propulsion. Because the Sun supplies the necessary propulsive energy, solar sails require no on-board propellant, thus reducing system mass. This technology is currently at TRL 7/8 as demonstrated by the 2010 flight of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, IKAROS mission. [2].
LanguageEnglish
PagesArticle 4103
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2012
EventConcepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration - Texas, Houston, United States
Duration: 12 Jun 201214 Jun 2012

Conference

ConferenceConcepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration
CountryUnited States
CityHouston
Period12/06/1214/06/12

Fingerprint

Propulsion
Earth (planet)
Solar sails
Propellants
Landing
Sun
Photonics
Mirrors
Photons
Trajectories
Costs

Keywords

  • Mars exploration
  • solar sail propulsion
  • mission design

Cite this

Johnson, L., McInnes, C., Macdonald, M., & Percy, T. (2012). Mars sample return using solar sail propulsion. Article 4103. Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration, Houston, United States.
Johnson, Les ; McInnes, Colin ; Macdonald, Malcolm ; Percy, T. / Mars sample return using solar sail propulsion. Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration, Houston, United States.2 p.
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Johnson, L, McInnes, C, Macdonald, M & Percy, T 2012, 'Mars sample return using solar sail propulsion' Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration, Houston, United States, 12/06/12 - 14/06/12, pp. Article 4103.

Mars sample return using solar sail propulsion. / Johnson, Les; McInnes, Colin; Macdonald, Malcolm; Percy, T.

2012. Article 4103 Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration, Houston, United States.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther

TY - CONF

T1 - Mars sample return using solar sail propulsion

AU - Johnson, Les

AU - McInnes, Colin

AU - Macdonald, Malcolm

AU - Percy, T.

PY - 2012/6/12

Y1 - 2012/6/12

N2 - (Challenge Area 2: Safe and Accurate Landing Capabilities, Mars Ascent, and Innovative Exploration Architectures) Many Mars Sample Return (MSR) architecture studies have been conducted over the years. A key element of them is the Earth Return Stage (ERS) whose objective is to obtain the sample from the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) and return it safely to the surface of the Earth. ERS designs predominantly use chemical propulsion [1], incurring a significant launch mass penaltydue to the low specific impulse of such systems coupled with the launch mass sensitivity to returned mass. It is proposed to use solar sail propulsion for the ERS, providing a high (effective) specific impulse propulsion system in the final stage of the multi-stage system. By doing so to the launch mass of the orbiter mission can be significantly reduced and hence potentially decreasing mission cost. Further, solar sailing offers a unique set of non-Keplerian low thrust trajectories that may enable modifications to the current approach to designing the Earth Entry Vehicle by potentially reducing the Earth arrival velocity. This modification will further decrease the mass of the orbiter system. Solar sail propulsion uses sunlight to propel vehicles through space by reflecting solar photons from a large, mirror-like surface made of a lightweight, reflective material. The continuous photonic pressure provides propellantless thrust to conduct orbital maneuvering and plane changes more efficiently than conventional chemical propulsion. Because the Sun supplies the necessary propulsive energy, solar sails require no on-board propellant, thus reducing system mass. This technology is currently at TRL 7/8 as demonstrated by the 2010 flight of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, IKAROS mission. [2].

AB - (Challenge Area 2: Safe and Accurate Landing Capabilities, Mars Ascent, and Innovative Exploration Architectures) Many Mars Sample Return (MSR) architecture studies have been conducted over the years. A key element of them is the Earth Return Stage (ERS) whose objective is to obtain the sample from the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) and return it safely to the surface of the Earth. ERS designs predominantly use chemical propulsion [1], incurring a significant launch mass penaltydue to the low specific impulse of such systems coupled with the launch mass sensitivity to returned mass. It is proposed to use solar sail propulsion for the ERS, providing a high (effective) specific impulse propulsion system in the final stage of the multi-stage system. By doing so to the launch mass of the orbiter mission can be significantly reduced and hence potentially decreasing mission cost. Further, solar sailing offers a unique set of non-Keplerian low thrust trajectories that may enable modifications to the current approach to designing the Earth Entry Vehicle by potentially reducing the Earth arrival velocity. This modification will further decrease the mass of the orbiter system. Solar sail propulsion uses sunlight to propel vehicles through space by reflecting solar photons from a large, mirror-like surface made of a lightweight, reflective material. The continuous photonic pressure provides propellantless thrust to conduct orbital maneuvering and plane changes more efficiently than conventional chemical propulsion. Because the Sun supplies the necessary propulsive energy, solar sails require no on-board propellant, thus reducing system mass. This technology is currently at TRL 7/8 as demonstrated by the 2010 flight of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, IKAROS mission. [2].

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KW - solar sail propulsion

KW - mission design

UR - http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/marsconcepts2012/pdf/4103.pdf

M3 - Other

SP - Article 4103

ER -

Johnson L, McInnes C, Macdonald M, Percy T. Mars sample return using solar sail propulsion. 2012. Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration, Houston, United States.