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NanoSail-D: The First Flight Demonstration of Solar Sails for NanosatellitesThe NanoSail-D mission is currently scheduled for launch onboard a Falcon Launch Vehicle in the late June 2008 timeframe. The NanoSail-D, a CubeSat-class satellite, will consist of a sail subsystem stowed in a Cubesat 2U volume integrated with a CubeSat 1U volume bus provided by the NASA Ames Research Center (ARC). Shortly after deployment of the NanoSail-D from a Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployer (P-POD) ejection system, the solar sail will deploy and mission operations will commence. This demonstration flight has two primary mission objectives: 1) to successfully stow and deploy the sail and 2) to demonstrate de-orbit functionality. Given a nearterm opportunity for launch, the project was met with the challenge of delivering the flight hardware in approximately six months, which required a significant constraint on flight system functionality. As a consequence, passive attitude stabilization will be achieved using permanent magnets to de-tumble and orient the body with the magnetic field lines and then rely on atmospheric drag to passively stabilize the sailcraft in an essentially maximum drag attitude. This paper will present an introduction to solar sail propulsion systems, overview the NanoSail-D spacecraft, describe the performance analysis for the passive attitude stabilization, and present a prediction of flight data results from the mission.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Whorton, Mark (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Heaton, Andy (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Pinson, Robin (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Laue, Greg (ManTech SRS Technologies Huntsville, AL, United States)
Adams, Charles L. (Gray Research, Inc. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
August 11, 2008
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
22nd Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites(Logan, UT)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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