Open Access

Fig. 5.

image

Critical mass per cross section of a photon sail to become gravitationally unbound from the solar system after launch in the vicinity of the Earth. The solid line shows values computed with Eq. (22). The dots show results from our 2D numerical integrations. Vertical dashed lines indicate the orbit of the International Space Station (400 km above ground; 1.06 R from the Earth’s center), the geostationary orbit (altitude of 35 786 km; 6.6 R from the Earth’s center), and the orbit of the Moon (378 021 km above the ground; 60 R from the Earth’s center).

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