Future Solar Sail Missions

Les Johnson of the NASA Marshall Space Center provides a 37-page presentation on solar sails covering the technical details, past projects and future projects.

Near-term work is with various cubesats and solar sails.

Near Earth Asteroid Scout

The Near Earth Asteroid Scout Will
• Image/characterize a NEA during a slow flyby
• Demonstrate a low-cost asteroid reconnaissance capability

Key Spacecraft & Mission Parameters
• 6U cubesat (20 cm X 10 cm X 30 cm)
• ~86 m2 solar sail propulsion system
• Up to 2.5 year mission duration
• 1 AU maximum distance from Earth

Solar Sail Propulsion System Characteristics
• ~ 7.3 m Trac booms
• 2.5m aluminized CP-1 substrate
• over 90% reflectivity

Inflatable solar sail

University of Surrey – InflateSail is an inflatable, rigidizable sail for flight in Low Earth Orbit

3U CubeSat with deployed sail area of 10 square meters
• Sail supported by bistable booms
• Inflation is driven by Cool Gas Generators (CGG): low system mass, long lifespan

Polar satellite

Continuous Polar Observations
Sailcraft over the polar regions of the Earth
Sail tilted so the light pressure from the sunlight reflecting from it is exactly equal and opposite to the gravity pull of the Earth.

Near term Space probe five times faster than Voyager