NASA 1999 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 99-1 25.02-2034 (Chron: 990480 )

PROJECT TITLE: Carbon Solar Sail

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

Photon sail propulsion enables missions not possible using conventional chemical or electric propulsion, particularly high velocity missions to explore beyond the solar system. The usefulness of a photon sail to perform useful mission propulsion is critically dependent on its areal mass, optical properties, and temperature limitations. Conventional sails are based on polymeric films that have severe limitations. This Phase 1 Sbir project investigates novel fiber-based sail materials and architectures for high performance photon sails that offer significant improvements in mass, stiffness, and temperature capability. Phase 1 shall investigate fiber-based sail fabrics suited for photon propulsion. Mechanical and optical materials properties of lightweight sail materials will be measured. Lightweight methods to increase optical reflectivity and to provide attitude control with these materials will be assessed. Draft designs of sail materials for ground tests and near-term space experiments will be prepared for potential Phase 2 development.



POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS

Lightweight sails have near-term application to sail propulsion experiments and longer-term application to space propulsion and attitude control systems. Lightweight materials have broad applications to spacecraft antennas, mirrors, sunshades, thermal insulation, and gossamer spacecraft structures.


NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

 
Timothy R. Knowles, PhD 
Energy Science Laboratories, Inc.
6888 Nancy Ridge Drive
San Diego , CA 92121 - 2232

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR


Energy Science Laboratories, Inc. 
6888 Nancy Ridge Drive
San Diego , CA 92121 - 2232