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Advanced Diffractive MetaFilm SailcraftA fast-tracked multifaceted approach that integrated NASA, industry, and academia was successfully executed to advance the novel concept of radiation pressure by means of a thin diffractive film. This pioneering new approach to light sailing was found to offer advantages over reflective sails - especially for missions that include close orbits or a close fly-by of the sun.The research effort included experiments, numerical modeling, and an "incubator meeting" that brought together over 35 researchers and stakeholders to uncover some of the most feasible means of advancing both the TRL and mission capabilities of diffractive sailcraft. One of the outcomes of the incubator meeting was to focus this Phase I research on a solar polar orbiter mission for heliophysics experiments. NASA decadal surveys and other reports have repeatedly pointed out that scientists have only a paucity of information about the sun beyond the ecliptic plane. The TRL has been advanced from 1 to 3 during this Phase I research with the help of experiments that have verified the predicted force and mechanical control afforded by diffractive sails. Knowledge gained from the experiments and numerical models was not only disseminated in peer reviewed publications and conferences, but it also resulted in a patent disclosure.
Document ID
Document Type
Contractor or Grantee Report
Swartzlander, Grover A., Jr.
(Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY, United States)
Johnson, Charles
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Tabiryan, Nelson
(BEAM Co. Orlando, FL, United States)
Barbosu, Michael
(Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY, United States)
Date Acquired
May 20, 2019
Publication Date
April 17, 2019
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Portions of document may include copyright protected material.
Technical Review
NASA Technical Management
Radiation Pressure
Light Sailing
Reflective Sails
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