PDF document and interactive MATLAB script named ss2d_opt.m that can be used to analyze and optimize two-dimensional, heliocentric solar sail trajectories between the orbits of Earth and Venus and between the Earth and Mars. In this script, the heliocentric planet orbits are assumed to be circular and coplanar. The optimal steering angles for minimum transfer time are modeled as piecewise-linear variations as suggested in “Near Minimum-Time Trajectories for Solar Sails”, by Michiel Otten and Colin R. McInnes, AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics, Vol. 24, No. 3.
The optimization of these steering angles is performed using the SNOPT nonlinear programming (NLP) algorithm.
This MATLAB script solves the problem of transferring from the Earth’s orbit and arriving at the orbit of either Venus or Mars with the proper distance and velocity. It does not attempt to solve the rendezvous problem between the actual or ephemeris locations of each planet. The ss2d_opt script provides both numerical and graphical information about the trajectory analysis.