On a Sailed Spacecraft Motion along a Handrail Fixed to Two Heliocentric Space Stations
Received 22 March 2023; accepted 06 July 2023; published 30 August 2023
2023, Vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 359-370
Author(s): Vaskova V. S., Rodnikov A. V.
Motion of a particle modeling a spacecraft with a solar sail along a handrail joining two
heliocentric space stations is considered under the assumption that the sail is a perfect reflecting
plane that can be located at any angle with respect to the direction of solar rays, the particle
does not leave the plane of the orbit of the stations, the handrail is a tether that realizes an
ideal unilateral constraint whose boundary is some ellipse, and the particle motion is sufficiently
fast with respect to the orbital motion of the stations to neglect noninertiality of the orbital
frame of reference. The equations of particle motion are written in dimensionless form without
parameters, and the existence of an energy integral for the case of the sail orientation depending
only on the spacecraft location is established. This integral is used for complete integration of
the equations of motion for the particle relocations along the constraint boundary. The optimal
length of the tether for the fastest relocation of a particle between the most remote points of
the constraint boundary is computed for the case of the sail being orthogonal to the solar rays
throughout the motion. Such a relocation time is computed in dimensionless form and for some
real and hypothetical situations. A set of pairs of points in the constraint boundary between
which relocation along the constraint boundary with zero initial and final velocities and with
the invariably oriented sail is possible is constructed depending on the eccentricity of the ellipse.
The result is presented as several plots that illustrate the evolution of the pairsâ€™ regions as the
eccentricity of the ellipse changes.
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