Flight Dynamics and Control Strategy of Electric Solar Wind Sails
Zhu, Zheng H.
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This paper studies the flight dynamics and control strategy for electric solar wind sails based on the nodal position finite element method, where the coupling effects between tether dynamics and the electrical field are considered. A modified throttling control strategy is proposed to control the attitude of electric sails by modulating individual tether voltage synchronously with the spinning motion of the sails. The effects of four critical physical parameters (tether numbers, tether length, sail spin rate, and mass of remote units) are investigated. The results show that the effect of the relative velocity of the solar wind has a significant effect on the spin rate of the sail in attitude maneuvering, which in turn affects the attitude dynamics and orbit motion of the sail. Numerical results show that the proposed control strategy work successfully stabilizes the spin rate of sail when the new type sail is adopted.