Credit: Surrey Space Centre

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

 

Following in the wake of the Planetary Society’s LightSail-A mission, another solar sail effort is being readied for a July departure.

Boxed up and delivered to India last month, the DeorbitSail mission is among a number of payloads to be rocketed into space from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India.

The DeorbitSail project is a collaboration to build a 3 unit (3U) CubeSat-sized satellite with a deployable sail that will demonstrate rapid deorbiting.

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

Leader of the project is the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey in Guildford, United Kingdom.

Test of rapid deorbiting

DeorbitSail is a small satellite mission that will launch and deploy a roughly 13 foot by 13 foot (four-by-four-meters), four-quadrant sail to showcase rapid deorbiting.

The sail will be able to change the satellite’s orbit through drag and solar radiation pressure.

DeorbitSail will use atmospheric drag as its primary method of deorbitation, but the same design can be effective for solar sailing at higher altitudes.

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

Top level objectives

Top level objectives of the DeorbitSail Project are to:

— Provide research in the field of deorbiting

— Provide a demonstrated and verified design for deorbiting of satellites and debris

— Provide effective and efficient in-space propulsion technologies based on solar sails

 

Cooperative effort

As detailed by Surrey Space Centre, “Solar sailing” is a method of propulsion that uses the very small force exerted by sunlight to propel a spacecraft. This force, solar radiation pressure, is much smaller than the weight of the sail on the Earth’s surface, even though the sail material is thinner than human hair.

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

The DeorbitSail project is a cooperative effort between Surrey Space Centre (UK), Caltech (USA), DLR (Germany), EADS Astrium (France), Stellenbosch University (South Africa), University of Patras (Greece), Athena-SPU (Greece), Middle-Eastern Technical University (Turkey), Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) (UK), and ISIS (Netherlands).

The project is funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Program, FP7.

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

Credit: Surrey Space Centre

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