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Optimal Attitude Maneuver of an Axisymmetric Spinning Solar Sail

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A simple strategy for attitude maneuver of an axisymmetric spinning solar sail is proposed. The center of mass along the spin axis is adjusted to achieve the large angle slew maneuver, which means that utilization of the moving mass along the spin axis is possible to achieve the large angle slew maneuver. The time-optimal problem is formulated using the maximum principle and the solution is a typical bang-bang control. To avoid solving the bang-bang control, a hybrid performance index including the transfer time and the total moving distance of the moving mass is adopted to solve the optimal control problem using the pseudospectral method. The maneuver time is identified for different spin rates, different maximum allowed offsets between mass center and pressure center, different sizes of solar sail, and different maneuver targets.

Shengping Gong

Field of Interest

“The field of interest shall be the organization, systems engineering, design, development, integration, and operation of complex systems for space, air, ocean, or ground environments. These systems include but are not limited to navigation, avionics, mobile electric power and electronics, radar, sonar, telemetry, military, law-enforcement, automatic test, simulators, and command and control."


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