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Use of magnetic sails for advanced exploration missionsThe magnetic sail, or magsail, is a field effect device which interacts with the ambient solar wind or interstellar medium over a considerable volume of space to generate drag and lift forces. Two theories describing the method of thrust generation are analyzed and data results are presented. The techniques for maintaining superconductor temperatures in interplanetary space are analyzed and low risk options presented. Comparisons are presented showing mission performance differences between currently proposed spacecraft using chemical and electric propulsion systems, and a Magsail propelled spacecraft capable of generating an average thrust of 250 Newtons at a radius of one A.U. The magsail also provides unique capabilities for interstellar missions, in that at relativistic speeds the magnetic field would ionize and deflect the interstellar medium producing a large drag force. This would make it an ideal brake for decelerating a spacecraft from relativistic speeds and then maneuvering within the target star system.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Andrews, Dana G.
(Boeing Aerospace Co. Seattle, WA., United States)
Zubrin, Robert M.
(Martin Marietta Aerospace Denver, CO., United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 1990
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Lewis Research Center, Vision-21: Space Travel for the Next Millennium
Subject Category
Astronautics (General)
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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