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Paper: PIC Simulation of Electric Sail with Explicit Trapped Electron Modeling
Volume: 459, 6th International Conference of Numerical Modeling of Space Plasma Flows (ASTRONUM 2011)
Page: 271
Authors: Janhunen, P.
Abstract: The solar wind electric sail (electric sail, E-sail) is a new and potentially revolutionarily efficient method of interplanetary propulsion. The E-sail taps the momentum flux of the solar wind with the help of long, thin, highly positively charged and centrifugally stretched tethers. According to estimations, a full-scale E-sail could weigh 100-200 kg and produce 1 N thrust at 1 AU. The thrust would scale as 1/r where r is the distance from the sun and the thrust direction could be vectored by ∼ 30° away from radial by inclining the sail. Here we present new particle in cell (PIC) simulation results of the E-sail thrust. The challenge in modeling the E-sail from first principles is the possible existence of trapped electrons. We sketch a way by which the PIC simulations might be possible to extrapolate to the natural limit in the future.
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