The dynamics and control of the CubeSail mission: A solar sailing demonstration

Andrew Pukniel, Victoria Coverstone, Rodney Burton, David Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The CubeSail mission is a low-cost demonstration of the UltraSail solar sailing concept (Burton et al.; 2005; Botter et al.; 2006; Hargens-Rysanek, 2006; Pukniel, 2009), using two near-identical CubeSat satellites to deploy a 260 m-long, 20 m2 reflecting film. The two satellites are launched as a unit, detumbled, and separated, with the film unwinding symmetrically from motorized reels. The conformity to the CubeSat specification allows for reduction in launch costs as a secondary payload and utilization of the University of Illinois-developed spacecraft bus. The CubeSail demonstration is the first in a series of increasingly-complex missions aimed at validating several spacecraft subsystems, including attitude determination and control, the separation release unit, reel-based film deployment, as well as the dynamical behavior of the sail and on-orbit solar propulsion. The presented work describes dynamical behavior and control methods used during three main phases of the mission. The three phases include initial detumbling and stabilization using magnetic torque actuators, gravity-gradient-based deployment of the film, and steady-state film deformations in low Earth orbit in the presence of external forces of solar radiation pressure, aerodynamic drag, and gravity-gradient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1902-1910
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Volume48
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Demonstrations
Spacecraft
reels
solar propulsion
Gravitation
spacecraft
Orbits
launch costs
Satellites
aerodynamic drag
gravity
gravitation
Aerodynamic drag
gradients
ice ridge
Reels
radiation pressure
low Earth orbits
solar radiation
Solar radiation

Keywords

  • Low earth orbit missions
  • Mission design
  • Solar sailing
  • Spacecraft dynamics
  • Tether dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

The dynamics and control of the CubeSail mission : A solar sailing demonstration. / Pukniel, Andrew; Coverstone, Victoria; Burton, Rodney; Carroll, David.

In: Advances in Space Research, Vol. 48, No. 11, 01.12.2011, p. 1902-1910.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Pukniel, Andrew ; Coverstone, Victoria ; Burton, Rodney ; Carroll, David. / The dynamics and control of the CubeSail mission : A solar sailing demonstration. In: Advances in Space Research. 2011 ; Vol. 48, No. 11. pp. 1902-1910.
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