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Ultra Large Solar Sail Technology

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2004 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
CU Aerospace LLC
301 North Neil Street Suite 400 Champaign, IL 61820-3169
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2004
Title: Ultra Large Solar Sail Technology
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNM04AB18C
Award Amount: $499,938.00


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.

Principal Investigator:

David Carroll
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

David Carroll
Business Official
Small Business Information at Submission:

CU Aerospace LLC
60 Hazelwood Dr. Champaign, IL 61820

EIN/Tax ID: 371373803
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
University of Illinois, U-C
306 Talbot Lab/104 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801
Contact: Paul W. Bohn
Contact Phone: (217) 333-0678
RI Type: Nonprofit college or university