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Solar-powered space flight

  • M. H. D. Kemp (a1)


The aim of this paper is analyse the practicality or otherwise of solar-powered propulsion (after launch using conventional chemical rocketry) for a space vehicle’s late pre-orbital trajectory phase, for orbital transfer and for post-orbital flight. We introduce a ‘concept’ vehicle that in principle permits the use of solar-powered propulsion in each of these stages. Some of the technical challenges that such a vehicle might face are analysed, including the problem of how to keep a large ultra-low mass optical concentrator arrangement sufficiently accurately positioned in different parts of such a trajectory.



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