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Solar-powered space flight

  • M. H. D. Kemp (a1)

Abstract

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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References

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1. Kaye, G.W.C. and Laby, T.H., Tables of Physical and Chemical Constants, 15th edition, Longman Scientific & Technical.
4. Klein, M.V. and Furtak, T.E., Optics, 1986, John Wiley & Sons.
5. Kemp, M.H.D., Optical Imaging Device Design for Solar Powered Flight and Power Generation, 2003, PCT Patent Application PCT/GB2003/004516.
6. Kemp, M.H.D., Ultra-high Resolution Imaging Devices, 2001, PCT Patent Application PCT/GB2001/01161.
7. US National Research Council Committee on Thermionic Research and Technology. Thermionics Quo Vadis? An Assessment of the DTRA’s Advanced Thermionics Research and Development Program, 2001, National Academy Press.
8. Winston, R.. Nonimaging optics, Scientific American, March 1991.

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