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Engineering - Mechanical Engineering | Solar Sails - A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel

Solar Sails

A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel

Vulpetti, Giovanni, Johnson, Les, Matloff, Gregory

2008

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  • Discusses current plans for solar sails and projections up to the medium term
  • Describes how advanced technology, such as nanotechnology, can be applied to enhance the solar sail performance
  • Shows how solar sail propulsion will make space exploration more affordable
  • Demonstrates how access to destinations within (and beyond) the solar system will become within our reach

Solar sail technology is very close to becoming an engineering reality. It will soon be used in the exploration of the solar system and beyond.

Using the power of the sun for space travel propulsion will be the next major leap forward in our journey to other worlds.

This fascinating book provides an accessible introduction to solar sails and details how they work and what they will be used for in the exploration of space.

It also examines current plans for solar sails and how advanced technology, such as nanotechnology, might enhance their performance.

The coverage includes material on how solar sail propulsion will make space exploration more affordable and demonstrates how access to destinations within (and beyond) the solar system will come within reach.

The book also details the construction of current and future sailcraft, including the work of both government and private space organizations, and features images of sail hardware that have been built, tested and, in some cases, flown.

In all, this is a well structured and approachable text on a subject of intense interest in the modern era.

Content Level » Popular/general

Keywords » alternative propulsion - reaching the stars - space technology - space travel - star - stellar - technology

Related subjects » Astronomy - Extraterrestrial Physics, Space Sciences - Mechanical Engineering - Popular Science

Table of contents 

Space Engines Past and Present.- An Historical Introduction to Space Propulsion.- The Rocket: How It Works in Space.- Rocket Problems and Limitations.- Non-Rocket In-Space Propulsion.- The Solar-Sail Option: From the Oceans to Space.- Space Missions by Sail.- Principles of Space Sailing.- What Is a Space Sailcraft?.- Sails Versus Rockets.- Exploring and Developing Space by Sailcraft.- Riding a Beam of Light.- Construction of Sailcraf.- Designing a Solar Sail.- Building a Sailcraft.- Progress to Date.- Future Plans.- Space Sailing: Some Technical Aspects.- Space Sources of Light.- Modeling Thrust from Electromagnetic Radiation Pressure.- Sailcraft Trajectories.- Sails in the Space Environment.

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