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Solar Sail Spacecraft Novel Trajectory Design in Deep Space Exploration

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Tutor: LiJunFeng
School: Tsinghua University
Course: Mechanics
Keywords: solar sailing,angular momentum reversal (H-reversal),novel periodic orbit,inters
CLC: V412.41
Type: PhD thesis
Year:  2013
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Deep space exploration is not only beneficial for revealing the origin of theuniverse and life in general, but also for promoting the development of the society andadvancements of technology. With the increasing exploration boundaries and a need forshorter mission times and costs, alternatives to the current continuous low-thrustpropulsion systems are being actively sought. Recently, solar sailing has gainedconsiderable interest for use in future missions, since it does not depend on propellants,chemical or nuclear. In contrast to the achievable missions using conventional chemicalpropulsion, a number of non-Keplerian orbits can be enabled by using solar sailing, e.g.,significant variations of the orbital energy can be achieved, resulting in angularmomentum reversal (H-reversal) and interstellar probe trajectories.In the two-body heliocentric dynamical model, a sailcraft can escape the solarsystem along the H-reversal trajectory with appropriate constant sail attitude angles. Inthis thesis, a new phase space of hodograph method is adopted to investigate thefeasible region of the H-reversal trajectories. The minimum sail lightness numberrequired to form the H-reversal trajectory can be analytically identified by solving a setof algebraic equations, instead of a parameter optimization problem. For a givenlightness number and the constraint of the perihelion distance, the feasible sail attitudeangles for the H-reversal trajectories can be obtained parametrically. In view of theorbital characteristics, some potential mission scenarios are presented through numericalsimulations.Based on the H-reversal trajectory with fixed attitude angles, some novel periodicorbits are proposed, including the ¡°3D double-reversal orbit¡± and the ¡°multi-reversalorbit¡±. Since there is no fuel consumption, the time-optimal trajectory design is usuallythe focus for a solar sail mission. The new periodic orbits are obtained from thetime-optimal control model, which is solved using an indirect method, involving thesolution to a two-point (TPBVP) or even a multi-point boundary value problem(MPBVP). Both the planar and3D cases for the periodic orbits are presented along withthe orbit properties and potential mission applications. The method to eliminate theunexpected solutions with respect to the global optimal result is also discussed in detail. For the interstellar missions, a sailcraft can reach a cruise speed of10AU/Y oreven higher with the solar photonic assist (SPA) by closely approaching the Sun. Thereare two types of SPA flybys, i.e., the direct flyby and the H-reversal flyby, respectively.The direct single SPA flyby is adopted in this thesis to complete the interstellar mission.A new objective function is proposed leading to an improved time-optimal solution andits advantage is confirmed through numerical simulations. The H-reversal flybys areunanticipated and obtained as locally optimal results. In order to reduce the missiontime further, a design of novel dual-satellite sailcraft is introduced for the direct flybywith probe release at the perihelion point, allowing the interstellar probe to reach ahigher terminal speed. Parametric studies are performed to show the advantages of theprobe release and illustrate the relations between the mission time and the relevantparameters.
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