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Solar Sail Propulsion Technology at NASANASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology Program developed the first generation of solar sail propulsion systems sufficient to accomplish inner solar system science and exploration missions. These first generation solar sails, when operational, will range in size from 40 meters to well over 100 meters in diameter and have an area density of less than 13 grams per square meter. A rigorous, multi-year technology development effort culminated in 2005 with the testing of two different 20-m solar sail systems under thermal vacuum conditions. This effort provided a number of significant insights into the optimal design and expected performance of solar sails as well as an understanding of the methods and costs of building and using them. In addition, solar sail orbital analysis tools for mission design were developed and tested. Laboratory simulations of the effects of long-term space radiation exposure were also conducted on two candidate solar sail materials. Detailed radiation and charging environments were defined for mission trajectories outside the protection of the earth's magnetosphere, in the solar wind environment. These were used in other analytical tools to prove the adequacy of sail design features for accommodating the harsh space environment. The presentation will describe the status of solar sail propulsion within NASA, near-term solar sail mission applications, and near-term plans for further development.
Document ID
20080013337
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Johnson, Charles Les (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
November 8, 2007
Subject Category
Solar Physics
Meeting Information
Colloquium at Surrey University(Surrey)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.