Ultra-large Solar Sail Technology

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NAS8-03039
Agency Tracking Number: 020025
Amount: $99,904.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2003
Solitcitation Year: N/A
Solitcitation Topic Code: N/A
Solitcitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
CU Aerospace LLC
2004 S. Wright St. Extended, Urbana, IL, 61802
Duns: N/A
Hubzone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Victoria Carroll
 () -
 vcc@uiuc.edu / carroll@cuaerospace.com
Business Contact
Title: Partner
Phone: (217) 333-8274
Email: carroll@cuaerospace.com
Research Institution
 University of Illinois, U-C
 Paul Bohn
 306 Talbot Lab/104 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL, 61801
 (217) 333-2187
 Nonprofit college or university
UltraSail is a complete sail system for the launch, deployment, stabilization and control of very large (km^2 size) solar sails enabling reduced mission times 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 of 1 gm/m^2, and thrust levels 20 times those of ion thrusters used for comparable deep space missions. UltraSail can conceivably even achieve outer planetary rendezvous, a deep space capability now reserved for high-mass nuclear and chemical systems. The primary innovation is the near-elimination of sail supporting structures by attaching the sail tip to a number of formation-flying microsatellites which deploy the sail, and then articulate the sail to provide attitude control, including spin stabilization and precession of the spin axis. These tip microsatellites are controlled by a laser metrology system and maneuvered by a 3-axis microthruster system using solar-power to maintain low, constant velocity and proper sail film tension during deployment with negligible propellant mass.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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