Flying on Sun Shine: Sailing in Space
NASA – Marshall Space Flight Center
On January 20th, 2011, NanoSail-D successfully deployed its sail in space. It was the first solar sail vehicle to orbit the earth and the second sail ever unfurled in space. The 10m2 sail, deployment mechanism and electronics were packed into a 3U CubeSat with a volume of about 3500cc. The NanoSail-D mission had two objectives: eject a nanosatellite from a minisatellite; deploy its sail from a highly compacted volume to validate large structure deployment and potential de-orbit technologies. NanoSail-D was jointly developed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and Ames Research Center. The ManTech/NeXolve Corporation provided key sail design support. NanoSail-D is managed by Marshall and jointly sponsored by the Army Space and Missile Defense Command, the Space Test Program, the Von Braun Center for Science and Innovation and Dynetics Inc. The presentation will provide insights into sailcraft advances and potential missions enabled by this emerging in-space propulsion technology.