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Large area sail design concepts

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1 Author(s)
Garner, C.E. ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA

Mission concepts to several hundred AU and beyond are under study at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The preliminary results of these mission studies have identified solar sails as one of the promising propulsion technologies for making these ambitious precursor and interstellar missions a reality. This paper presents solar and beamed energy sail design concepts to achieve the performance requirements identified in preliminary interstellar exploration technology roadmaps which include nearer-term interstellar precursor missions to several hundred AU and beamed power missions to Alpha Centauri and beyond. The baseline solar sail design for an interstellar probe (ISP) mission to the near-interstellar medium assumes an areal density of 1g/m2 (including film and structure), and a diameter of ~410 m. Missions to the stars will require very large sails with areal densities approaching 0.1 g/m2

Published in:

Aerospace Conference Proceedings, 2000 IEEE  (Volume:7 )

Date of Conference:

2000