Sunjammer: Preliminary end-to-end mission design

Jeannette Heiligers, Benjamin Diedrich, Bill Derbes, Colin McInnes

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This paper provides a preliminary end-to-end mission design for NASA’s Sunjammer solar sail mission, which is scheduled for ground test deployment in 2015 with launch at a later date and targets the sub-L1 region for advanced solar storm warning. The artificial equilibrium points (AEPs) in the sub-L1 region accessible by the Sunjammer sail as well as solar sail Halo orbits are investigated. Subsequently, the fly-out from an Earth GTO into either a selected sub-L1 AEP or Halo orbit is optimized for a trade-off between the AV to be provided at GTO perigee and the time of flight. In addition, interesting, time-optimal extended mission scenarios are presented to underpin future solar sail mission applications, e.g. transferring to an AEP high above the ecliptic plane for high-latitude Earth observation. All analyses are carried out both for an ideal Sunjammer sail performance as well as for a realistic performance derived from a detailed sail structural analysis. A comparison of the results shows that non-ideal sail properties increase the time of flight of the trajectories by 2.4 - 7.9%.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2014
EventAIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference 2014 - California, San Diego, United States
Duration: 4 Aug 20147 Aug 2014


ConferenceAIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • sunjammer
  • soalr sailing
  • trajectory optimisation
  • space mission design
  • artificial equilibrium points
  • hao orbits
  • extended mission concepts
  • circular restricted three-body problem


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