Vol 11, No 7 (2011) / Zeng

New applications of the H-reversal trajectory using solar sails

Xiang-Yuan Zeng, Hexi Baoyin, Jun-Feng Li, Sheng-Ping Gong

Abstract

Advanced solar sailing has been an increasingly attractive propulsion system for highly non-Keplerian orbits. Three new applications of the orbital angular momentum reversal (H-reversal) trajectories using solar sails are presented: space observation, heliocentric orbit transfer and collision orbits with asteroids. A theoretical proof for the existence of double H-reversal trajectories (referred to as ‘H2RTs’) is given, and the characteristics of the H2RTs are introduced before a discussion of the mission applications. A new family of H2RTs was obtained using a 3D dynamic model of the two-body frame. In a time-optimal control model, the minimum period H2RTs both inside and outside the ecliptic plane were examined using an ideal solar sail. Due to the quasi-heliostationary property at its two symmetrical aphelia, the H2RTs were deemed suitable for space observation. For the second application, the heliocentric transfer orbit was able to function as the time-optimal H-reversal trajectory, since its perihelion velocity is a circular or elliptic velocity. Such a transfer orbit can place the sailcraft into a clockwise orbit in the ecliptic plane, with a high inclination or displacement above or below the Sun. The third application of the H-reversal trajectory was simulated impacting an asteroid passing near Earth in a head-on collision. The collision point can be designed through selecting different perihelia or different launch windows. Sample orbits of each application were presented through numerical simulation. The results can serve as a reference for theoretical research and engineering design.

Keywords


celestial mechanics — cosmology: observations

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