Bernd Dachwald, Patrick Wurm
Design Concept and Modeling of an Advanced Solar Photon Thruster
19th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, 2009, Savannah (GA), USA (AAS-09-147)


The so-called "compound solar sail", also known as "Solar Photon Thruster" (SPT), holds the potential of providing significant performance advantages over the flat solar sail. Existing SPT design concepts, however, do not consider shadowing effects and multiple reflections of highly-concentrated solar radiation that would inevitably destroy the gossamer sail film. In this paper, we propose a novel advanced SPT design concept that does not suffer from these optical over-simplifications, but requires a more sophisticated mathematical description. We derive the equations that describe the thrust force acting onto such a sail system and compare the performance of our new SPT design concept with respect to the conventional flat solar sail.