Surfing the L2 gradient with the starshade in search of extraterrestrial life

CMA Deccia, Eduardo Villalba, JS Parker, GH Born, Webster Cash, Ron Noomen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


A heliogyro is a solar sail concept that divides the solar sail membrane into a number of long, slender blades of film extended from a central hub, maintained in a flat state through spin-induced tension. The heliogyro can redirect and scale the solar radiation pressure (SRP) force and can achieve attitude control by twisting the blades, similar to a helicopter rotor. Different pitch profiles exist, including pitching the blades in a collective, cyclic or combined collective and cyclic manner. While the forward mapping, i.e., computing the SRP force and moment generated by the heliogyro for a given pitch profile, is straightforward, the inverse of the problem is much more complex. However, this inverse problem (finding the blades’ pitch that results in a desired SRP force and/or moment) is crucial for heliogyro mission design and operations. This paper therefore solves the inverse problem numerically: first, only for a desired SRP force or SRP moment and subsequently for the fully coupled inverse problem. The developed methods are subsequently applied to track a reference trajectory that corrects for injection errors into a solar sail Sun-Earth sub-L1 halo orbit.
I. Introduction
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference
Subtitle of host publicationLong Beach, California, USA
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-62410-445-9
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventAIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference 2016 - Long Beach, United States
Duration: 13 Sep 201616 Sep 2016


ConferenceAIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference 2016
CountryUnited States
CityLong Beach
Internet address


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