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SOLAR SAIL

Geethika
Muralidharan
B10 ISP
CUSAT

Contents
Introduction
History
Working
Components
Sail

designs
Missions
Applications
Merits and demerits
conclusion

Introduction
Solar

sail is a space craft without


engine. It is pushed along directly
by light particles from the sun,
reflecting off giant mirror like
sails. Because it carries no fuel
and keeps accelerating over
almost unlimited distances, it is
the only technology now in
existence

Introduction
400

years back
Johannes Kepler
proposed the idea
In the 1960s,
James Clerk
Maxwell predicted
that
electromagnetic
radiation exerts a
pressure because
of the momentum
property of
radiation

Sails: using sunlight


Sail

pointed at sun, experiences force


Sun pushes the sail directly

away
Reflected light generates reaction force
much like reaction force of
rocket

Sailboats: Using wind


Bernoullis

principle:
Drag when wind
moving over the
sails (small
neglect)
Wind flows over
airfoil sail receives
force perpendicular
to wind direction
Boat moves forward

Sails: using sunlight


Light

is made up
of packets of
energy known as
photons
Incident rays of
sunlight reflect off
the solar sail at an
angle
Change in
momentum
pushes the sail

Working
Two

components of force
In the direction of incident
sunlight
In the direction normal to the
incident rays
Component tangent to the sail
surface cancel out
Components normal to the
surface add up to produce the
thrust normal to the sail surface

Why solar sails ?


Solar

sail is effective
No noticeable friction
Space is very empty and clean so
there is plenty of room
Continuous supply of energy

Distance v/s time

Comparative study
In

100 days, a sail-propelled craft


could reach 14000 kilometers per hour
In just three years a solar sail could
reach over 150000 miles per hour
At that speed you could reach Pluto in
less than five years
Far away from the sun, the highly
focused beams of lasers can be
directed at the sails to boost them
onto interstellar trajectories

Components
Continuous

force exerted by sunlight


A large, ultra thin mirror
A separate launch vehicle
Ultra thin mirror :-large flat smooth
sheets of very thin film, supported by
ultra light weight structures
Side of film which faces the sun is
coated with highly reflective material
Sometimes reinforcement are also
provided

Sail parameters
Sail

loading ()

(mass/area)

Acceleration
8.25/

in mm/s2

Lightness
=ac/5.93

number

Sail designs
Square

sail

Large,

flat reflective film


4 spars from hub

Optimum

Design
Packing/deployment issues
No spin to maintain tension

Helio gyro
Plastic-film blades
deployed from rollers
Film held out by
centrifugal forces
No mass advantage
over a square sail
Attractive because the
method of deploying
the sail is simpler than
a square sail

Spinning disk sails


Panels

are attached to the edge


of a rotating spacecraft
Have slight gaps, about 1%-5%of
the total area
Lines would connect the edges of
sails
Weights in the middle of these
lines would pull the sails taut

Sail deployment

Essential qualities
Lightweight
Highly

reflexive
Tolerate extreme temperatures

Materials
Aluminium
Titanium
Nickel
Silicon
boron

monoxide

Missions Cosmos1
Eight triangular sails
Mylar thin polyester 30 m
wide
Insert 825 kilometer near
polar orbit
Mylar suffer
high sail
Worlds
first solar
temperature+radiation
Launch
planned June 21st 2005
Solar sail lost due to booster
failure

Missions: Nanosail -D
Nano

satellite or Cubesat
Designed to test he potential for
solar sails in atmospheric braking
Used an ultra- thin and light
polymer named CP1
Deployed in low earth orbit,
about 650km
Launched by falcon -1 launch
vehicle in august 2008

JAXA/ISAS
Japan

pursuing solar power

sails
Solar sail gathers sunlight as
propulsion by means of a
large membrane
Solar power sail- obtains
electricity from thin solar cells
on the
membrane+acceleration by
sun
Ion propulsion engines
accelerate ions driven by
solar cells:-hybrid engine
August 10 2004
Deployed on S-310 rocket,
first successful one

IKROS (May 20, 2010)


Hybrid solar sail
propelled partly by
solar pressure, partly
by traditional solar
pressure
H-IIA rocket

14X14 m solar sail 307


kg
Separate from rocket
spin to unfurl sail
Six month mission
IKROS headed towards
Venus
Solar sail powered craft

Future solar sailing


Helio

storm(2016-

2020)
150x150m

Solar

polar
imager(2020-2035)

150x150m

Interstellar

probe(2031)
250x250m

Applications
Solar

weather stations
Monitoring the geomagnetic
storms
Launching small satellites
Remote sensing
Probes to the end of milky way
Search for extra terrestrial life

Merits and demerits


Merits
Longer

distance can be covered


Requires no fuel
Faster than chemical rocket
Demerits
Dont

work well in low earth orbit below


about 800km altitude due to erosion or air
drag
Sails have to be physically large
Payload size is often small
Difficult to carry manned missions

Solar sail
technology is
crucial for the
next generation
of space travel

References
www.howstuffworks.com
www.nasa.org
www.planetarysociety.org
www.wikipedia.org