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Astrodynamics

Article Title

Mechanism-free control method of solar/thermal radiation pressure for application to attitude control

Keywords

solar radiation pressure, (SRP), thermal radiation pressure, (TRP), attitude control, solar sail

Abstract

Solar radiation pressure (SRP) impinging on spacecraft is usually regarded as a disturbancefor attitude motion, but it can be harnessed to solve the very problem it creates. ActiveSRP control is possible with solar radiation powered thin-film devices such as reflectivitycontrol devices or liquid crystal devices with reflective microstructure. Thermal radiationpressure (TRP) can likewise be used to solve flight attitude problems caused by SRP, TRP,or other factors. TRP on solar cells can be controlled by switching regulators under thecontrol of them, resulting in temperature change. These SRP/TRP controls are free frommechanisms, such as reaction wheels, and thus they do not produce internal disturbances.In addition, the magnitude of SRP/TRP torques is generally much smaller than internaldisturbance torques produced by reaction wheels, which creates a potential for precision farbeyond that achieved with mechanical controls. This paper summarizes how SRP/TRP canbe used by means of numerical simulations of typical control methods. The usefulness of thismechanism-free attitude control is verified for future use on both Earth orbiting satellitesand interplanetary spacecraft including solar sails.

Publisher

Tsinghua University Press

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