Mastert Thesis Presentation: Zoom
Time: Thu 2020-09-10 15.15 - 16.15
Participating: Guillermo Martínez Cabalga
Abstract Typical propulsion systems for space transportation involve the ejec-tion of mass for momentum gain. Solar sails remove the requirement for propellant mass by obtaining their momentum from solar photons, which requires large surface area and very low mass. In this way solar sailcraft generate constant accelerations, in contrast with the impulsive thrust of chemical rockets. This enables new families of orbits and presents a new challenge for optimization and control. This study presents a summary of proven solar sail technology and investigates minimum-time trajectories to and from Mars. This optimization is carried out in two phases, using an energy rate-maximizing algorithm for planetary escape and sparse non-linear programming for the interplanetary segment. The results provide upper bounds for minimum-time transfers and are then compared to pos-sible sail sizes and sailcraft masses. This in turn may inform the design and selection of future missions for materials exchange during exploration or settlement e˙orts.