Article Title

Trajectory design for a solar-sail mission to asteroid 2016 HO3


asteroid 2016 HO3, solar sail, solar electric propulsion, trajectory design, trajectory optimization


This paper proposes the use of solar-sail technology currently under development at NASALangley Research Center for a CubeSat rendezvous mission with asteroid 2016 HO3, aquasi-satellite of Earth. Time-optimal trajectories are sought for within a 2022–2023 launchwindow, starting from an assumed launcher ejection condition in the Earth–Moon system.The optimal control problem is solved through a particular implementation of a directpseudo-spectral method for which initial guesses are generated through a relatively simpleand straightforward genetic algorithm search on the optimal launch date and sail attitude.The results show that the trajectories take 2.16–4.21 years to complete, depending on theassumed solar-sail reflectance model and solar-sail technology. To assess the performance ofsolar-sail propulsion for this mission, the trajectory is also designed assuming the use of solarelectric propulsion. The resulting fuel-optimal trajectories take longer to complete thanthe solar-sail trajectories and require a propellant consumption that exceeds the expectedpropellant capacity onboard the CubeSat. This comparison demonstrates the superiorperformance of solar-sail technology for this mission.


Tsinghua University Press