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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

UltraSail Solar Sail Flight Experiment, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

UltraSail Solar Sail Flight Experiment, Phase II
A team of CU Aerospace, the University of Illinois, and ManTech SRS Technologies proposes Phase II development of a 3 kg CubeSat spacecraft for initial flight test of a 20 m2 UltraSail, a next-generation high-risk, high-payoff solar sail system for the launch, deployment, stabilization and control of very large (km2 class) solar sails, enabling very high payload mass fractions for interplanetary and deep space spacecraft. UltraSail is an innovative, non-traditional approach to propulsion technology achieved by combining propulsion and control systems developed for formation-flying microsatellites with an innovative solar sail architecture to achieve controllable sail areas approaching 1 km2, sail subsystem area densities less than 5 g/m2, and thrust levels many times those of ion thrusters used for comparable deep space missions. The primary innovation presented in Phase I was vacuum demonstration plus analysis of two modes of sail deployment. The Phase II effort will include fabrication of dual 1.5 kg CubeSats, vacuum and dynamic testing of the separation release unit, and simulation of spacecraft deployment to full film length, analysis of spacecraft dynamics and environmental effects, and formulation and analysis of mission objectives and groundstation requirements. More »

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.