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CubeSail: A low cost CubeSat based solar sail demonstration mission

Lappas V. ; Adeli N. ; Visagie L. ; Fernandez J. ; Theodorou T. ; Steyn W. ; Perren M. (2011-10-13)

Article in Press

CubeSail is a nano-solar sail mission based on the 3U CubeSat standard, which is currently being designed and built at the Surrey Space Centre, University of Surrey. CubeSail will have a total mass of around 3 kg and will deploy a 5 × 5 m sail in low Earth orbit. The primary aim of the mission is to demonstrate the concept of solar sailing and end-of-life de-orbiting using the sail membrane as a drag-sail. The spacecraft will have a compact 3-axis stabilised attitude control system, which uses three magnetic torquers aligned with the spacecraft principle axis as well as a novel two-dimensional translation stage separating the spacecraft bus from the sail. CubeSail's deployment mechanism consists of four novel booms and four-quadrant sail membranes. The proposed booms are made from tape-spring blades and will deploy the sail membrane from a 2U CubeSat standard structure. This paper presents a systems level overview of the CubeSat mission, focusing on the mission orbit and de-orbiting, in addition to the deployment, attitude control and the satellite bus. © 2011 COSPAR.

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