Solar Sail Application with a Proposed Low Earth Orbit Mission Concept

Polat H. C., TEKİNALP O.

9th International Conference on Recent Advances in Space Technologies (RAST), İstanbul, Turkey, 11 - 14 June 2019, pp.285-291 identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume:
  • Doi Number: 10.1109/rast.2019.8767818
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.285-291
  • Keywords: Solar Sail, LEO, Low Thrust Maneuvers, Orbit Control, Aerodynamic Drag, HALO ORBITS, DESIGN
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Solar Sail applications utilizing the advantages of propellant-free and theoretically infinite specific impulse are widely investigated, especially for interplanetary/interstellar and near-Earth asteroid missions and non-Keplerian orbit designs. However, applications regarding to the Low Earth Orbit (LEO), specifically below 700 km, are rarely studied as aerodynamic drag is dominant. This study is aimed to harvest the LEO mission advantages by proposing an elliptical orbit design and control via continuous low thrust. Two-tier mode based control algorithm is employed and maximum energy gain or loss thrust vector control is implemented depending on the phase of the mission, i.e. raising or decreasing. It is shown that the proposed mission orbit and successive low thrust maneuvers are applicable. The results depending on the initial orbit and satellite parameters are also investigated.