End-to-end trajectory design for a solar-sail-only pole-sitter at Venus, Earth, and Mars

Heiligers, J., Vergaaij, M. and Ceriotti, M. (2021) End-to-end trajectory design for a solar-sail-only pole-sitter at Venus, Earth, and Mars. Advances in Space Research, 67(9), pp. 2995-3011. (doi: 10.1016/j.asr.2020.06.011)

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The concept of a pole-sitter has been under investigation for many years, showing the capability of a low-thrust propulsion system to maintain a spacecraft at a static position along a planet’s polar axis. From such a position, the spacecraft has a view of the planet’s polar regions equivalent to that of the low- and mid-latitudes from geostationary orbit. Previous work has hinted at the existence of pole-sitters that would only require a solar sail to provide the necessary propulsive thrust if a slight deviation from a position exactly along the polar axis is allowed, without compromising on the continuous view of the planet’s polar region (a so-called quasi-pole-sitter). This paper conducts a further in-depth analysis of these high-potential solar-sail-only quasi-pole-sitters and presents a full end-to-end trajectory design: from launch and transfer to orbit design and orbit control. The results are the next steppingstone towards strengthening the feasibility and utility of these orbits for continuous planetary polar observation.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Solar sailing, pole-sitter, orbit design, trajectory optimisation, orbit control.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ceriotti, Dr Matteo and Vergaaij, Miss Merel
Authors: Heiligers, J., Vergaaij, M., and Ceriotti, M.
College/School: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
ISSN (Online):1879-1948
Published Online:20 June 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 COSPAR
First Published:First published in Advances in Space Research 67(9):2995-3011
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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