Solar sail orbit operations at asteroids

Citation:
Morrow, E, Scheeres DJ, Lubin D.  2001.  Solar sail orbit operations at asteroids. Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets. 38:279-286.

Date Published:

Mar-Apr

Keywords:

radiation

Abstract:

The inherent capabilities of solar sails and that they need no onboard supplies of fuel for propulsion make them well suited for use in long-term, multiple-objective missions. They are especially well suited for the exploration of asteroids, where one spacecraft could rendezvous with a number of asteroids in succession. The orbital mechanics of solar sail operations about an asteroid, however, have not yet been studied in detail. Building an previous studies, we find both hovering points and orbiting trajectories about various sized asteroids using equations of motion for a solar sail spacecraft. The orbiting trajectories are stable and offer good coverage of the asteroid surface, although restrictions on sail acceleration are needed for smaller asteroids.

Notes:

n/a

Website

DOI:

10.2514/2.3682