Large solar powered orbital transfer vehicle

wing Solar OTV2 Solar OTV2b Solar OTV3 Solar OTV

A very large solar powered orbital transfer vehicle.  Those little tanks in the close up are 15 ton modules flown up by the Skylon space plane.  This ship takes a number of containers and moves them from lower Earth orbit to a space station at the moon L2 Lagrangian point.

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3 Responses to Large solar powered orbital transfer vehicle

  1. What sort of electric propulsion do you envision? electrostatic, electromagnetic, electrothermal?
    Do you have any estimates on the delta V capacity, mass ratio, and exhaust velocity?

  2. Hi Winchell, nice of you to comment!

    It’s an electrostatic drive of the 4-grid ion type, with hydrogen as fuel. The ISP is 10 000 seconds, ve is 98 000 m/s, power 300 MW, solar array area 640 000 m2, 35% efficiency cells. 400 tonnes of cargo, 870 tons of ship and 100 tons of fuel. About 2 weeks of constant thrust to get to high orbit.

    There is a very messy spreadsheet here:

    Optimised for fuel efficiency rather than low power. Needs really low weight solar cells!

  3. 300 MW with solar cells? No wonder the spacecraft needs 100-odd football fields worth of solar cell area. Thank you for the spreadsheet!
    Would it be possible for me to add your OTV to my list of spacecraft on my website?

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