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Abstract
Solar sails provide significant advantages over other lowthrust propulsion systems because they produce thrust by the momentum exchange from solar radiation pressure (SRP) and thus do not consume any propellant. The force exerted on a very thin sail foil basically depends on the light incidence angle. Several analytical SRP force models that describe the SRP force acting on the sail have been established since the 1970s. All the widely used models use constant optical force coefficients of the reflecting sail material. In 2006, MENGALI et al.
proposed a refined SRP force model that takes into account the dependancy of the force coefficients on the light incident angle, the sail’s distance from the sun (and thus the sail temperature) and the surface roughness of the sail
material [1]. In this paper, the refined SRP force model is compared to the previous ones in order to identify the potential impact of the new model on the predicted capabilities of solar sails in performing lowcost interplanetary space missions. All force models have been implemented within InTrance, a global lowthrust trajectory optimization software utilizing evolutionary neurocontrol [2]. Two interplanetary rendezvous missions, to Mercury and the nearEarth asteroid 1996FG3, are investigated. Two solar sail performances in terms of
characteristic acceleration are examined for both scenarios, 0.2 mm/s2 and 0.5 mm/s2, termed “low” and “medium” sail performance. In case of the refined SRP model, three different values of surface roughness are chosen, h = 0 nm, 10 nm and 25 nm. The results show that the refined SRP force model yields shorter transfer times than the standard model.
proposed a refined SRP force model that takes into account the dependancy of the force coefficients on the light incident angle, the sail’s distance from the sun (and thus the sail temperature) and the surface roughness of the sail
material [1]. In this paper, the refined SRP force model is compared to the previous ones in order to identify the potential impact of the new model on the predicted capabilities of solar sails in performing lowcost interplanetary space missions. All force models have been implemented within InTrance, a global lowthrust trajectory optimization software utilizing evolutionary neurocontrol [2]. Two interplanetary rendezvous missions, to Mercury and the nearEarth asteroid 1996FG3, are investigated. Two solar sail performances in terms of
characteristic acceleration are examined for both scenarios, 0.2 mm/s2 and 0.5 mm/s2, termed “low” and “medium” sail performance. In case of the refined SRP model, three different values of surface roughness are chosen, h = 0 nm, 10 nm and 25 nm. The results show that the refined SRP force model yields shorter transfer times than the standard model.
Original language  English 

Number of pages  6 
Publication status  Published  19 Jul 2010 
Event  2nd International Symposium on Solar Sailing, ISSS 2010  New York, USA Duration: 20 Jul 2010 → 22 Jul 2010 
Conference
Conference  2nd International Symposium on Solar Sailing, ISSS 2010 

City  New York, USA 
Period  20/07/10 → 22/07/10 
Keywords
 solar sails
 SRP force model
 optical coefficients
 lowthrust propulsion
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Projects
 1 Finished

VISIONSPACE  VISIONARY SPACE SYSTEMS: ORBITAL DYNAMICS AT EXTREMES OF SPACECRAFT LENGTH SCALE (ERC ADVANCED GRANT)
McInnes, C.
European Commission  FP7  European Research Council
1/02/09 → 30/09/14
Project: Research