New families of non-Keplerian orbits: Solar sail motion over cylinders and spheres

Jeannette Heiligers, Colin McInnes

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This paper presents new families of Sun-centered non-Keplerian orbits (NKOs),
where the motion of a high-performance solar sail is confined to either a cylindrical or spherical surface. These orbits are found by investigating the geometrically constrained sail dynamics and imposing further constraints on the angular velocity and lightness number to generate pure solar sail trajectories. By considering the sail motion in the phase space of the problem, families of new NKOs are identified, and by investigating the oscillating behavior of the orbits, true periodic orbits are found. As extension to the well known families of displaced NKOs, these three-dimensional NKOs generate a wealth of new solar sail orbits and novel sail applications.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2014
Event3rd International Symposium on Solar Sailing - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Jun 201313 Jun 2013


Conference3rd International Symposium on Solar Sailing
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • solar sailing
  • non-Keplerian orbits
  • orbital dynamics

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