The GeoSail Technology Reference Study (TRS) investigated the feasibility of performing an in situ solar sailing technology demonstration, while also performing science measurements in the Earth's magnetosphere.
Scope of the Study
(This is a non-exhaustive list.)
The Science Package is used to measure the influence and interaction of the sail with the environment and may typically contain:
The GeoSail Technology Reference Study is intended to identify the required technologies for a solar sailing demonstration mission, while performing plasma science measurements in the Earth's magnetosphere. The main technologies requiring development are:
Solar Sail Material: The few micron thick material requires extreme low mass with excellent reflectivity and thermal emission capabilities with guaranteed long-term stability.
Solar Sail Deployment: The thin solar sail needs to be deployed with a reliable mechanism allowing for a full deployment without rupturing or becoming stuck.
Sail Jettison Mechanism: The jettison mechanism needs to allow for a safe sail jettison after the primary mission lifetime, without the risk of sail and spacecraft collision. After successful separation of the sail it is intended to perform scientific measurements free of the influence of the attached sail assembly.
Solar Sail Attitude and Orbit Control System: A new technique for changing and controlling the attitude of large sail assemblies is required to perform navigation manoeuvres.
Communication: The communication subsystem integration with the sailcraft is possibly an issue, due to pointing errors, vibrations and field of view restrictions from the sail.
Assembly, Integration and Verification: Assembly, integration and verification of the sailcraft is difficult in a gravitational environment. A particular issue is the folding and packaging of the sail into the sail container.
Study Details and Status
The study was completed in 2007 and was carried out by SRE-PAP with the support of Kayser-Threde GmbH, SCI-SYS (UK) and Astrium Stevenage (UK).
For further information please contact:
Dr. Peter Falkner
Last Update: 01 September 2008For further information please contact: SciTech.firstname.lastname@example.org