Analytic trajectories for a spacecraft subjected to a low, continuous, propulsive acceleration are available only for very special cases [1–3], even though these solutions find significant utility in preliminary mission design and optimization [4]. If a closed-form trajectory corresponding to a given thrust control law cannot be recovered, a possible option is to resort to a shape-based approach [5–7], or to suitably simplify the differential equations of motion [8–10]. Within the latter context, in this Note an analytical, albeit approximate, expression for the heliocentric trajectory of a spacecraft propelled by a low-performance electric sail [11, 12] is discussed. Using a two-dimensional model and under the assumptions of constant thrust angle and low propulsive acceleration modulus, the spacecraft heliocentric trajectory is obtained in a parametric way as a function of time. The effectiveness of the mathematical model is checked by comparing the analytic solution with a numeric integration of equations of motion.

Trajectory Approximation for Low-Performance Electric Sail with Constant Thrust Angle

QUARTA, ALESSANDRO ANTONIO
Primo
Conceptualization
;
MENGALI, GIOVANNI
Secondo
Writing – Review & Editing
2013

Abstract

Analytic trajectories for a spacecraft subjected to a low, continuous, propulsive acceleration are available only for very special cases [1–3], even though these solutions find significant utility in preliminary mission design and optimization [4]. If a closed-form trajectory corresponding to a given thrust control law cannot be recovered, a possible option is to resort to a shape-based approach [5–7], or to suitably simplify the differential equations of motion [8–10]. Within the latter context, in this Note an analytical, albeit approximate, expression for the heliocentric trajectory of a spacecraft propelled by a low-performance electric sail [11, 12] is discussed. Using a two-dimensional model and under the assumptions of constant thrust angle and low propulsive acceleration modulus, the spacecraft heliocentric trajectory is obtained in a parametric way as a function of time. The effectiveness of the mathematical model is checked by comparing the analytic solution with a numeric integration of equations of motion.
Quarta, ALESSANDRO ANTONIO; Mengali, Giovanni
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/208380
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