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Project Icarus: Solar Sail Technology for the Icarus Interstellar Mission

Project Icarus: Solar Sail Technology for the Icarus Interstellar Mission

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Project Icarus: Solar Sail Technology for the Icarus Interstellar Mission

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  1. Project Icarus: Solar Sail Technologyfor theIcarus Interstellar Mission Project Icarus Study Group Internet: http://icarusinterstellar.org/ E-mail: info@icarusinterstellar.org Project Icarus Study Group

  2. Project Daedalus Design study between 1973—1978 • Considered the challenges of interstellar travel • Used current/near-future technology • Reach destination within a human lifetime • Allow for a variety of target stars Project Icarus Study Group

  3. Project Icarus • Tau Zero Foundation initiative in collaboration with The British Interplanetary Society. • Officially began30 September 2009. Project Icarus Study Group

  4. Icarus Project Requirements • Unmanned probe • Current or near-future technology • Reach destination as fast as possible • Variety of target stars • Propulsion mainly fusion based • Deceleration for prolonged encounter time Project Icarus Study Group

  5. Icarus Parameters • Interstellar cruise speed 0.1—0.2c • Launch mass (Daedalus) ≈ 50,000 tonnes • Encounter mass (Daedalus) ≈ 50,000 kg Project Icarus Study Group

  6. Potential Sail Uses • Boost from solar system • Deceleration at target star • Deployment of gravitational lens relay • Deployment of sub-probes in target system Project Icarus Study Group

  7. Case #1 Deceleration at Target Star Project Icarus Study Group

  8. Deceleration at Alpha Centauri A Project Icarus Study Group

  9. Deceleration – Realistic Sail • Hollow-Body Beryllium Sail • Capture at 0.066 AU • σsail = 4 × 10−5 kg/m2 • ρ = 0.9 Project Icarus Study Group

  10. Sail Deceleration (Hollow-Body Sail) Project Icarus Study Group

  11. Sail Deceleration (Hollow-Body Sail) • Limiting case of no payload:vi ≈ 0.004c (1200 km/s) • Therefore 96-98% of deceleration must occur before the sail is used Project Icarus Study Group

  12. Deceleration – ‘Ideal’ Sail • Capture at 0.066 AU • σsail ≥ 0 • ρ = 1 Project Icarus Study Group

  13. Sail Deceleration (Ideal Sail) Project Icarus Study Group

  14. Sail Deceleration (Ideal Sail) Assume: • Icarus encounter mass = 50,000 kg • Interstellar speed = 0.1c Sail diameter required ≈ 944 km Project Icarus Study Group

  15. Case #2 Deployment of Gravitational Lens Relay Station Project Icarus Study Group

  16. Gravitational Lens Relay Station Not to scale! Project Icarus Study Group

  17. Gravitational Lens Relay Station Project Icarus Study Group

  18. Grav Lens Relay Deployment Assume: • 10 GW laser (λ = 1μm) • Lens diameter = 1 km • Sail ρ = 0.85 • σ = 1 g/m2 Project Icarus Study Group

  19. Grav Lens Relay Deployment Time Project Icarus Study Group

  20. Grav Lens Relay Deployment Payload mass of 300 kg Delivered to 700 AU in 10 years Sail diameter ≈ 620 m Project Icarus Study Group

  21. Case #3 Boost from Solar System Project Icarus Study Group

  22. Boost from Solar System Assume: • Icarus launch mass = 50,000 tonnes • Sail ρ = 0.85 • Laser pushed Project Icarus Study Group

  23. Boost from Solar System Project Icarus Study Group

  24. Boost from Solar System Assume: • 100 GW laser (λ = 1μm) • Lens diameter = 100 km • σ = 1 g/m2 Then: • Terminal velocity ≈ 0.002c • Sail diameter ≈ 250 km Project Icarus Study Group

  25. Case #4 Deployment of Sub-Probes in Target System Project Icarus Study Group

  26. Deployment of Sub-Probes • Assume Icarus is captured into a close orbit of the star • Analogous to deploying interplanetary probes in our solar system • Could reach outer planets in a decade or two • Non-Keplerian orbits possible • Change of inclination e.g. cranking Project Icarus Study Group

  27. Summary • Sails not realistic for boost or deceleration of main craft • Potential for deployment of gravitational lens relay (using laser push • Potential for deployment of sub-probes Project Icarus Study Group

  28. Project Icarus Internet: http://icarusinterstellar.org/ Project Icarus Study Group