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FeatherSail - The Next Generation Nano-Class Sail VehicleSolar sail propulsion is a concept, which will soon become a reality. Solar sailing is a method of space flight propulsion, which utilizes the light photons to propel spacecrafts through the vacuum of space. Solar sail vehicles have generally been designed to have a very large area. This requires significant time and expenditures to develop, test and launch such a vehicle. Several notable solar propulsion missions and experiments have been performed and more are still in the development stage. This concept will be tested in the near future with the launch of the NanoSail-D satellite. NanoSail-D is a nano-class satellite, less than 10kg, which will deploy a thin lightweight sheet of reflective material used to propel the satellite in its low earth orbit. The NanoSail-D solar sail design is used for the basic design concept for the next generation of nanoclass solar sail vehicles. The FeatherSail project was started to develop a solar sail vehicle with the capability to perform attitude control via rotating or feathering the solar sails. In addition to using the robust deployment method of the NanoSail-D system, the FeatherSail design incorporates other novel technologies. These technologies include deployable thin film solar arrays and low power, low temperature Silicon-Germanium electronics. Together, these three technological advancements provide a starting point for smaller class sail vehicles. These smaller solar sail vehicles provide a capability for inexpensive missions to explore beyond the realms of low earth orbit.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Alhom, Dave C.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
July 20, 2010
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: International Symposium for Solar Sails 2010
Location: New York, NY
Country: United States
Start Date: July 20, 2010
End Date: July 22, 2010
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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