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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 34, issue 9
Ann. Geophys., 34, 845–855, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-34-845-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 34, 845–855, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-34-845-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Regular paper 26 Sep 2016

Regular paper | 26 Sep 2016

Thrust calculation of electric solar wind sail by particle-in-cell simulation

Kento Hoshi1, Hirotsugu Kojima2, Takanobu Muranaka3, and Hiroshi Yamakawa2 Kento Hoshi et al.
  • 1Department of Electrical Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
  • 2Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
  • 3Department of Electrical Engineering, Chukyo University, Nagoya, Japan

Abstract. In this study, thrust characteristics of an electric solar wind sail were numerically evaluated using full three-dimensional particle-in-cell (PIC) simulation. The thrust obtained from the PIC simulation was lower than the thrust estimations obtained in previous studies. The PIC simulation indicated that ambient electrons strongly shield the electrostatic potential of the tether of the sail, and the strong shield effect causes a greater thrust reduction than has been obtained in previous studies. Additionally, previous expressions of the thrust estimation were modified by using the shielded potential structure derived from the present simulation results. The modified thrust estimation agreed very well with the thrust obtained from the PIC simulation.

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We have investigated thrust characteristics of an electric solar wind sail (E-sail), which is a newly proposed propulsion system, by using numerical simulations. The thrust obtained from our simulation was lower than the thrust esimated by past studies. We have also developed a method to estimate the thrust of the E-sail without time-consuming particle simulations.
We have investigated thrust characteristics of an electric solar wind sail (E-sail), which is a...
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