A simple control law for reducing the effective characteristic acceleration of a solar sail

Ceriotti, M. and May-Wilson, G. (2021) A simple control law for reducing the effective characteristic acceleration of a solar sail. Advances in Space Research, 67(9), pp. 2865-2877. (doi: 10.1016/j.asr.2020.04.028)

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The direction and magnitude of a solar sail acceleration are strongly related. For this reason, once the characteristic acceleration has been fixed, it is not possible to modulate the acceleration in a particular direction. In this work, a semi-analytical switching control law is derived, enabling a solar sail to emulate a smaller effective characteristic acceleration (without changes in geometry or optical properties); by periodically changing the pitch (cone) angle of the sail, in average over time, the acceleration produced by the sail matches exactly (in both direction and magnitude) that of a “smaller” sail. The range in which this is possible is determined, and the limitations on this range due to the size difference is computed. The method is validated on optimal Earth-Mars trajectories.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Matteo Ceriotti would like to thank the James Watt School of Engineering (University of Glasgow) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE Conference Grant EAC/KDF/OFFER/19/046) for supporting part of this work.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ceriotti, Dr Matteo and May-Wilson, Gregory
Authors: Ceriotti, M., and May-Wilson, G.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Advances in Space Research
ISSN (Online):1879-1948
Published Online:05 May 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 COSPAR
First Published:First published in Advances in Space Research 67(9):2865-2877
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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