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Proceedings Paper

Characterization of space environmental effects on candidate solar sail material
Author(s): David L. Edwards; Whitney Hubbs; Tesia Stanaland; Andrew Hollerman; Richard L. Altstatt
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Paper Abstract

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) is concentrating research into the utilization of photonic materials for spacecraft propulsion. Spacecraft propulsion, using photonic materials, will be achieved using a solar sail. A sail operates on the principle that photons, originating from the sun, impart pressure and provide a source of spacecraft propulsion. The pressure can be increased, by a factor of two if the sun-facing surface is perfectly reflective. Solar sails are generally composed of a highly reflective metallic front layer, a thin polymeric substrate, and occasionally a highly emissive back surface. The Space Environmental Effects Team at MSFC is actively characterizing candidate solar sail materials to evaluate the thermo-optical and mechanical properties after exposure to a simulated Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) radiation environment. This study is the first known characterization of solar sail materials exposed to space simulated environments. The technique of radiation dose verses material depth profiling was used to determine the orbital equivalent exposure doses. The solar sail exposure procedures and results of the material characterization will be discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 November 2002
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 4823, Photonics for Space Environments VIII, (11 November 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.451455
Show Author Affiliations
David L. Edwards, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Whitney Hubbs, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Tesia Stanaland, Univ. of Louisiana at Lafayette (United States)
Andrew Hollerman, Univ. of Louisiana at Lafayette (United States)
Richard L. Altstatt, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4823:
Photonics for Space Environments VIII
Edward W. Taylor, Editor(s)

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