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Astrodynamics

Article Title

Comparison between direct and indirect approach to solar sail circle- to-circle orbit raising optimization

Keywords

flat solar sail, circle-to-circle transfer, heliocentric mission analysis, trajectory optimization

Abstract

This paper deals with the optimization of the transfer trajectory of a solar sail-basedspacecraft between circular and coplanar heliocentric orbits. The problem is addressed usingboth a direct and an indirect approach, while an ideal and an optical force model are used todescribe the propulsive acceleration of a flat solar sail. In the direct approach, the total flighttime is partitioned into arcs of equal duration, within which the sail attitude is assumedto be constant with respect to an orbital reference frame, and a nonlinear programmingsolver is used to optimize the transfer trajectory. The aim of the paper is to compare theperformance of the two (direct and indirect) approaches in term of optimal (minimum) flighttime. In this context, the simulation results show that a direct transcription method using asmall number of arcs is sufficient to obtain a good estimate of the global minimum flighttime obtained through the classical calculus of variation.

Publisher

Tsinghua University Press

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