Solar Sail Performance Requirements for Missions to the Outer Solar System and Beyond
55th International Astronautical Congress, 2004, Vancouver, Canada
Solar sails enable missions to the outer solar system and beyond, although the solar radiation pressure decreases with the square of solar distance. For such missions, the solar sail may gain a large amount of energy by first making one or more close approaches to the sun. Within this paper, optimal trajectories for solar sail missions to the outer planets and into near interstellar space (200 AU) are presented. Thereby, it is shown that even near/medium-term solar sails with relatively moderate performance allow reasonable transfer times to the boundaries of the solar system.