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Illumination from space with orbiting solar-reflector spacecraftThe feasibility of using orbiting mirrors to reflect sunlight to Earth for several illumination applications is studied. A constellation of sixteen 1 km solar reflector spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit can illuminate a region 333 km in diameter to 8 lux, which is brighter than most existing expressway lighting systems. This constellation can serve one region all night long or can provide illumination during mornings and evenings to five regions across the United States. Preliminary cost estimates indicate such an endeavor is economically feasible. The studies also explain how two solar reflectors can illuminate the in-orbit nighttime operations of Space Shuttle. An unfurlable, 1 km diameter solar reflector spacecraft design concept was derived. This spacecraft can be packaged in the Space, Shuttle, transported to low Earth orbit, unfurled, and solar sailed to operational orbits up to geosynchronous. The necessary technical studies and improvements in technology are described, and potential environmental concerns are discussed.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Technical Publication (TP)
Canady, J. E., Jr.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Allen, J. L., Jr.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 4, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 1982
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.60:2065
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 506-62-43
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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