Skip Navigation

I-Sail: 2500-Square-Meter Solar Sail Prototype Demonstrator, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

A team of CU Aerospace and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign proposes the Phase I design and development of a 25 kg spacecraft for initial flight test of a 2,500 m^2 UltraSail demonstrator, called I-Sail. This technology represents a next-generation high-risk, high-payoff solar sail system for the launch, deployment, stabilization and control of very large (km^2 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 km^2, sail subsystem area densities less than 5 g/m^2, and thrust levels many times those of ion thrusters used for comparable deep space missions. Phase I effort will focus on the design of this next generation I-Sail demonstrator, a two-order of magnitude scale up from the prior subscale 20 m^2 CubeSail hardware, along with potential mission selection with requirements. I-Sail represents the next stage of risk reduction for the UltraSail technology prior to full scale deep space development in the next decade. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Share this Project

Organizational Responsibility

Project Management

Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

Technology Areas

Target Destinations

Light bulb

Suggest an Edit

Recommend changes and additions to this project record.