Modulation of Solar Momentum for Satellite Attitude Control
Modulation of Solar Momentum for Satellite Attitude
EIC Laboratories, Inc.
111 Downey Street
Norwood, MA 02062
James D. Klein (617-769-9450)
A non-chemical and non-mechanical means of achieving attitude
control of satellites is the goal of this project. Even the
relatively low thrusts required for attitude control eventually
deplete stored chemical propulsion fuels and limit the operational
lifetime of satellites. This project will develop with
electrically tunable optical properties that allow active control
of momentum transfer with the solar radiation and provide attitude
control without propulsion fuels or moving parts. The resulting
low-thrust propulsion system will provide reliable, low-power
attitude control using materials suitable for long-term operation
in the space environment. Both commercial and defense satellites
could realize enhanced lifetimes and greater reliability from the
use of a non-chemical and non-mechanical attitude control and
stationkeeping system. Phase I seeks to demonstrate the necessary
spectral and thermal performance in a thin-film prototype panel.
More advanced switching mechanisms, spectral enhancements, and
scale-up technology would be developed in Phase II.
Potential Commercial Application:
Potential Commercial Applications: The successful development of
non-mechanical solar momentum control systems for spacecraft will
have commercial application in communications, meteorological, and
scientific research satellites.