Ultra Large Solar Sail Technology
UltraSail, proposed by a team of CU Aerospace, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, SRS Technologies, and VACCO Industries, is a next-generation high-risk, high-payoff sail system for the launch, deployment, stabilization and control of very large (km^2 class) solar sails enabling high payload mass fractions for interplanetary and deep space spacecraft. UltraSail is an innovative, non-traditional approach to propulsion technology achieved by combining propulsion and control systems developed for formation-flying microsatellites with an innovative solar sail architecture to achieve controllable sail areas approaching 1 km^2, sail subsystem area densities approaching 1 g/m^2, and thrust levels many times those of ion thrusters used for comparable deep space missions. UltraSail can achieve outer planetary rendezvous, a deep space capability now reserved for high-mass nuclear and chemical systems. The primary innovation presented in Phase I was the near-elimination of sail supporting structures by attaching each blade tip to a formation-flying microsatellite which deploys the sail, and then articulates the sail to provide attitude control, including spin stabilization and precession of the spin axis. These tip microsatellites are controlled by a 3-axis microthruster metrology system to control sail film deployment.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Research Institution Information:
CU Aerospace LLC
60 Hazelwood Dr. Champaign, IL 61820
Number of Employees:
University of Illinois, U-C
306 Talbot Lab/104 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801
Paul W. Bohn
Nonprofit college or university