Solar sailing - mission opportunities and innovative technology demonstration

C.R. McInnes, M. Eiden, P. Groepper, T. Peacock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Solar sailing is a unique and elegant form of propulsion that transcends reliance on reaction mass. Rather than carrying propellant, solar sails acquire momentum from photons, the quantum packets of energy from which sunlight is composed. In addition, since solar sails are not limited by reaction mass, they can provide continual acceleration, limited only by the lifetime of the sail film in the space environment. Therefore, solar sails can expand the envelope of possible missions, enabling new high-energy mission concepts that are essentially impossible with conventional reaction propulsion, and enhancing current mission concepts by lowering launch mass and reducing trip times.
LanguageEnglish
Pages58-65
Number of pages8
JournalESA European Space Agency Bulletin
Volume108
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Fingerprint

Solar sails
solar sails
Demonstrations
propulsion
Propulsion
ice ridge
aerospace environments
propellants
sunlight
Propellants
energy
momentum
Momentum
envelopes
Photons
life (durability)
photons

Keywords

  • solar sails
  • guidance systems
  • astronautical science
  • control systems

Cite this

McInnes, C. R., Eiden, M., Groepper, P., & Peacock, T. (2001). Solar sailing - mission opportunities and innovative technology demonstration. ESA European Space Agency Bulletin, 108, 58-65.
McInnes, C.R. ; Eiden, M. ; Groepper, P. ; Peacock, T. / Solar sailing - mission opportunities and innovative technology demonstration. In: ESA European Space Agency Bulletin. 2001 ; Vol. 108. pp. 58-65.
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McInnes, CR, Eiden, M, Groepper, P & Peacock, T 2001, 'Solar sailing - mission opportunities and innovative technology demonstration' ESA European Space Agency Bulletin, vol. 108, pp. 58-65.

Solar sailing - mission opportunities and innovative technology demonstration. / McInnes, C.R.; Eiden, M.; Groepper, P.; Peacock, T.

In: ESA European Space Agency Bulletin, Vol. 108, 2001, p. 58-65.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Groepper, P.

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KW - guidance systems

KW - astronautical science

KW - control systems

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