Solar Sails

A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel

Authors: Vulpetti, Giovanni, Johnson, Les, Matloff, Gregory

  • 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
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eBook $19.99
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  • ISBN 978-0-387-68500-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
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  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
About this book

Solar sailing is a topic of growing popular and media interest. Solar sail propulsion will make space exploration more affordable and offer access to destinations within (and beyond) the solar system that are currently beyond our reach. This book describes solar sails, how they work and what they will be used for in the exploration of space in an easily readable manner which does not necessitate any prior knowledge of physics or solar sailing. It discusses current plans for solar sails and also describes how advanced technology, such as nanotechnology, might enhance solar-sail performance. Much has been accomplished recently to make solar sail technology very close to becoming an engineering reality and it will soon be used by the world’s space agencies in the exploration of the solar system and beyond.

The book has four parts, each with multiple chapters which, in turn, contain some references and suggested further reading. Parts 1 - 3 are non-mathematical, while Part 4 contains more detailed technical information.

Reviews

From the reviews:

"Conceptually simple and romantic, solar sailing is an enchanting technological solution for space exploration. … Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel is the latest book to explore this topic … . Aimed at undergraduates, the book convincingly captures the history of ideas about solar sails, their current state of play and their future promise. … Suitable for aerospace students and keen enthusiasts alike, this book may one day inspire some of them to build a solar-sail-powered vessel." (Stuart Clark, Nature, Vol. 452, April, 2008)

"You would … find a more knowledgable team to write a book titled Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel (Copernicus, 2008), and it’s a pleasure to add that despite the sub-title, questions of interstellar significance receive solid treatment. … a title that needs to be on your shelf if you’re seriously interested in the next step as we move beyond rocketry." (Centauri Dreams, September, 2008)

"Solar sails have for decades promised to revolutionize in-space transportation. … In Solar Sails, Giovanni Vulpetti, Les Johnson, and Gregory L. Matloff try to serve both nontechnical and technical audiences by dividing the book into four parts. … The result is a book that provides does provide a comprehensive yet readable overview of how solar sails work and how they could be used in the near future." (Jeff Foust, The Space Review, October, 2008)

"This is a top-notch treatment of a propulsion concept that’s clearly innovative and a ‘must have’ capability to forge outward to the stars. Easy to read … the general reader will find that the authors care about you understanding the implications of harnessing solar sails. … Peppered with illustrative drawings and photos, as well as a glossary of terms, this book is a valuable contribution to the field and helps keep the sunlight shining on an important enabling technology for spacefaring societies." (Coalition for Space Exploration, October, 2008)

"The book is composed of two main sections, one of which takes a look at solar sailing development from a non-technical viewpoint, while the latter section is a technical look at solar sailing mechanics and engineering. … I would recommend this book … . this book has a lot to offer to both non-technical and technical readers." (Visual Astronomy, December, 2008)

"The book is divided into four major parts; the first three are directed towards non-engineers with formulas kept to a minimum, the language here is for entry-level space readers. The last part is slightly more advanced, aimed towards students of engineering and people with a more technical mind. … The book targets a broad audience who would be interested in an introduction to a new technology … . It’s a good choice for someone looking at a new technology and offers a modest price tag." (The Space Fellowship, December, 2008)

"... this book serves as an introduction to the idea of solar sailing. It starts with a review of rocket physics... much of the writing serves to inform the reader of the impractical nature of such forms of propulsion. Hence, by contrast, this section capably serves to show the practical nature of solar sails... By using common nomenclature, the book easily conveys the necessary scientific elements to both a generalist and a space enthusiast... it provides details aimed to attract the interest of graduate and post-graduate students. And, there's lots to attract, especially as so little space validation has occurred for this technology. Whether unfurling space sails, dealing with desorption, or controlling nanobots, this book provides many challenges and lots of promise for the future but also recognizes a need for a lot of effort to reach maturity. Yet, the book shows, through references to individuals' work and the work of national space agencies, that the concept is real, practicable and potentially very rewarding..." (Mark Mortimer, Universe Today, March, 2009)

"The book’s contents include a history of space engines from rockets to sails, a description of space missions involving sails, construction details of the sailcraft, and technical aspects of space sailing. … There are … eight pages of color photos, a good seven-page glossary, and a nine-page index. This work will be useful only for readers interested in the possibility of using solar sails for spacecraft propulsion. Summing Up: Recommended. Professionals, practitioners, and informed general readers." (W. E. Howard, Choice, Vol. 46 (6), February, 2009)

"‘Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel’ takes the concept of solar travel and applies it to what could possibly be a new revolution in interplanetary travel as time goes forward. … Enhanced with indexes, glossaries, and recommendations for further reading, ‘Solar Sails’ is a strong choice for those very intrigued with astronomy." (James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review, April, 2009)

"In their latest book, Vulpetti, Johnson and Matliff argue the case for space-sailing as a viable technology for travel within the Solar System. Solar Sails – a novel approach to interplanetary travel is written with both the novice space-travel enthusiast and the more technically advanced reader in mind. The book is very attractively produced, with a generous supply of diagrams and colour/black-&-white photographs that help explain what at times can be quite difficult concepts. ... All in all Solar Sails is a handsome book and a good introduction to a technology whose time I feel is imminent – may the force be with it!" (Gerard McMahon, Astronomy and Space, June, 2009)

"The text is lucid and clearly written … . a solid and broad introduction to the principles and inherent possibilities of solar sailing. The authors do an excellent job of explaining the principles, and devote a great deal of attention to making sure the reader understands their subject. It succeeds in leading the reader through the topic on both a conceptual and physical level, and its lucid exposition communicates the promise and advantages of a system with great potential for Solar System exploration." (Anselm Aston, The Observatory, Vol. 129 (1211), August, 2009)


Table of contents (18 chapters)

  • An Historical Introduction to Space Propulsion

    Vulpetti, Giovanni (et al.)

    Pages 3-12

  • The Rocket: How It Works in Space

    Vulpetti, Giovanni (et al.)

    Pages 13-22

  • Rocket Problems and Limitations

    Vulpetti, Giovanni (et al.)

    Pages 23-34

  • Non-Rocket In-Space Propulsion

    Vulpetti, Giovanni (et al.)

    Pages 35-46

  • The Solar-Sail Option: From the Oceans to Space

    Vulpetti, Giovanni (et al.)

    Pages 47-62

Buy this book

eBook $19.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-0-387-68500-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Solar Sails
Book Subtitle
A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel
Authors
Copyright
2008
Publisher
Copernicus
Copyright Holder
Springer-Verlag New York
eBook ISBN
978-0-387-68500-7
DOI
10.1007/978-0-387-68500-7
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVI, 256
Number of Illustrations and Tables
76 b/w illustrations, 16 illustrations in colour
Topics