Sailing at the brink - The no-limits of near-/now-term-technology solar sails and SEP spacecraft in (multiple) NEO rendezvous

Ceriotti, M. , Viavattene, G. , Moore, I. , Peloni, A. , McInnes, C. R. and Grundmann, J. T. (2021) Sailing at the brink - The no-limits of near-/now-term-technology solar sails and SEP spacecraft in (multiple) NEO rendezvous. Advances in Space Research, 67(9), pp. 3012-3026. (doi: 10.1016/j.asr.2020.10.017)

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Abstract

Near-Earth object (NEO) in-situ exploration can provide invaluable information for science, possible future deflection actions and resource utilisation. This is only possible with space missions which approach the asteroid from its vicinity, i.e. rendezvous. This paper explores the use of solar sailing as means of propulsion for NEO rendezvous missions. Given the current state of sail technology, we search for multiple rendezvous missions of up to ten years and characteristic acceleration of up to 0.10 mm/s2. Using a tree-search technique and subsequent trajectory optimisation, we find numerous options of up to three NEO encounters in the launch window 2019-2027. In addition, we explore steerable and throttleable low-thrust (e.g. solar-electric) rendezvous to a particular group of NEOs, the Taurid swarm. We show that an acceleration of 0.23 mm/s2 would suffice for a rendezvous in approximately 2000 days, while shorter transfers are available as the acceleration increases. Finally, we show low-thrust options (0.3 mm/s2) to the fictitious asteroid 2019 PDC, as part of an asteroid deflection exercise.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Moore, Iain and Viavattene, Giulia and Ceriotti, Dr Matteo and McInnes, Professor Colin and Peloni, Mr Alessandro
Authors: Ceriotti, M., Viavattene, G., Moore, I., Peloni, A., McInnes, C. R., and Grundmann, J. T.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Advances in Space Research
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0273-1177
ISSN (Online):1879-1948
Published Online:24 October 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 COSPAR
First Published:First published in Advances in Space Research 67(9):3012-3026
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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