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Design of a Solar Sail Mission to MarsA new area of interest in space vehicles is the solar sail. Various applications for which it has been considered are attitude control of satellites, focusing light on the jungles of Vietnam, and a Halley's comet rendezvous. Although for various reasons these projects were never completed, new interest in solar sails has arisen. The solar sail is an alternative to the rocket-propelled space vehicle as an interplanetary cargo vehicle, and manufacture of solar sails on the space station is a possibility. Solar sails have several advantages over rockets, including an unlimited power supply and low maintenance. The purpose of this project is to design a solar sail mission to Mars. The spacecraft will efficiently journey to Mars powered only by a solar sail. The vehicle weighs 487.16 kg and will be launchable on an expendable launch vehicle. The project includes an investigation of options to minimize cost, weight, and flight duration. The design of the sail and its deployment system are a major part of the project, as is the actual mission planning. Various topics researched include solar power, material, space environment, thermal control, trajectories, and orbit transfer. Various configurations are considered in order to determine the optimal structure. Another design consideration is the control system of the vehicle. This system includes the attitude control and the communication system of the sail. This project will aid in determining the feasibility of a solar sail and will raise public interest in space research.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Document Type
Conference Paper
Feaux, K.
(Auburn Univ. AL, United States)
Jordan, W.
(Auburn Univ. AL, United States)
Killough, G.
(Auburn Univ. AL, United States)
Miller, R.
(Auburn Univ. AL, United States)
Plunk, V.
(Auburn Univ. AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1989
Publication Information
Publication: Proceedings of the NASA/USRA Advanced Design Program Fifth Annual Summer Conference
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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