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Attitude Stability and Altitude Control of a Variable-Geometry Earth-Orbiting Solar Sail
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology. (Onboard space systems)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6830-4308
University of Glasgow, School of Engineering, James Watt Building South .
University of Glasgow, School of Engineering, James Watt Building South .
Number of Authors: 3
2016 (English)In: Journal of Guidance Control and Dynamics, ISSN 0731-5090, E-ISSN 1533-3884, Vol. 39, no 9, 2112-2126 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A variable-geometry solar sail for on-orbit altitude control is investigated. It is shown that, by adjusting the effective area of the sail at favorable times, it is possible to influence the length of the semimajor axis over an extended period of time. This solution can be implemented by adopting a spinning quasi-rhombic pyramidal solar sail that provides the heliostability needed to maintain a passive sun-pointing attitude and the freedom to modify the shape of the sail at any time. In particular, this paper investigates the variable-geometry concept through both theoretical and numerical analyses. Stability bounds on the sail design are calculated by means of a first-order analysis, producing conditions on the opening angles of the sail, while gravity gradient torques and solar eclipses are introduced to test the robustness of the concept. The concept targets equatorial orbits above approximately 5000km. Numerical results characterize the expected performance, leading to (for example) an increase of 2200km/yr for a small device at geostationary Earth orbit

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 39, no 9, 2112-2126 p.
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Atmospheric science
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-59680DOI: 10.2514/1.G001833ISI: 000383261500015OAI: diva2:1034486

Validerad; 2016; Nivå 2; 2016-10-12 (andbra)

Available from: 2016-10-12 Created: 2016-10-12 Last updated: 2016-10-12Bibliographically approved

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Felicetti, Leonard
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