NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 S3.04-9790
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Propulsion Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: UltraSail Solar Sail Flight Experiment

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
CU Aerospace LLC
2100 South Oak Street, Suite 206
Champaign, IL 61820 - 0903
(217) 333-8274

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
2100 S. Oak St. - Suite 206
Champaign, IL 61820 - 0903
(217) 333-8274

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 5 to 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
A team of CU Aerospace, the University of Illinois, and ManTech SRS Technologies proposes Phase II development of a 3 kg CubeSat spacecraft for initial flight test of a 20 m2 UltraSail, a next-generation high-risk, high-payoff solar sail system for the launch, deployment, stabilization and control of very large (km2 class) solar sails, enabling very high payload mass fractions for interplanetary and deep space spacecraft. UltraSail is an innovative, non-traditional approach to propulsion technology achieved by combining propulsion and control systems developed for formation-flying microsatellites with an innovative solar sail architecture to achieve controllable sail areas approaching 1 km2, sail subsystem area densities less than 5 g/m2, and thrust levels many times those of ion thrusters used for comparable deep space missions. The primary innovation presented in Phase I was vacuum demonstration plus analysis of two modes of sail deployment. The Phase II effort will include fabrication of dual 1.5 kg CubeSats, vacuum and dynamic testing of the separation release unit, and simulation of spacecraft deployment to full film length, analysis of spacecraft dynamics and environmental effects, and formulation and analysis of mission objectives and groundstation requirements.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
UltraSail is potentially useful for a range of robotic missions ranging from Near-Earth to Sun-Earth Lagrange point L1 to Mars to the Kuiper Belt. The low development cost of CubeSat-based solar sails coupled with high thrust and payload mass fraction results in economical, high-performance missions. The use of CubeSats and MicroSats coupled with UltraSail permits low-cost mission development before committing to much larger systems.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
UltraSail has military applications for earth-observing missions at high orbit where stationary observing is useful e.g. pole-sitting missions. Also, NOAA and NSF have strong interests in the science that can be returned using sails in non-Keplerian orbits and at Lagrange points.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.


Form Generated on 10-23-08 13:36