The aim of this paper is to explore the capabilities of a solar electric propelled spacecraft on a mission towards circumsolar space. Using an indirect approach, the paper investigates minimum time of transfer (direct) trajectories from an initial heliocentric parking orbit to a desired final heliocentric target orbit, with a low perihelion radius and a high orbital inclination. The simulation results are then collected into graphs and tables for a trade-off analysis of the main mission parameters. Finally, a comparison of the performance between a solar electric and a (photonic) solar sail based spacecraft is discussed.
- minimum time trajectories
- solar electric propulsion
- circumsolar space exploration