This paper describes a semi-analytical approach to electric sail mission analysis under the assumption that the spacecraft experiences a purely radial, outward, propulsive acceleration. The problem is tackled by means of the potential well concept, a very effective idea that was originally introduced by Prussing and Coverstone in 1998. Unlike a classical procedure that requires the numerical integration of the equations of motion, the proposed method provides an estimate of the main spacecraft trajectory parameters, as its maximum and minimum attainable distance from the Sun, with the simple use of analytical relationships and elementary graphs. A number of mission scenarios clearly show the effectiveness of the proposed approach. In particular, when the spacecraft parking orbit is either circular or elliptic it is possible to find the optimal performances required to reach an escape condition or a given distance from the Sun. Another example is given by the optimal strategy required to reach a heliocentric Keplerian orbit of prescribed orbital period. Finally the graphical approach is applied to the preliminary design of a nodal mission toward a Near Earth Asteroid.

### A Graphical Approach to Electric Sail Mission Design with Radial Thrust

#### Abstract

This paper describes a semi-analytical approach to electric sail mission analysis under the assumption that the spacecraft experiences a purely radial, outward, propulsive acceleration. The problem is tackled by means of the potential well concept, a very effective idea that was originally introduced by Prussing and Coverstone in 1998. Unlike a classical procedure that requires the numerical integration of the equations of motion, the proposed method provides an estimate of the main spacecraft trajectory parameters, as its maximum and minimum attainable distance from the Sun, with the simple use of analytical relationships and elementary graphs. A number of mission scenarios clearly show the effectiveness of the proposed approach. In particular, when the spacecraft parking orbit is either circular or elliptic it is possible to find the optimal performances required to reach an escape condition or a given distance from the Sun. Another example is given by the optimal strategy required to reach a heliocentric Keplerian orbit of prescribed orbital period. Finally the graphical approach is applied to the preliminary design of a nodal mission toward a Near Earth Asteroid.
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2013
Mengali, Giovanni; Quarta, ALESSANDRO ANTONIO; Aliasi, Generoso
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: `https://hdl.handle.net/11568/159107`