Heliogyro solar sail with self-regulated centrifugal deployment enabled by an origami-inspired morphing reflector

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    Abstract

    Solar sails utilise solar radiation pressure to propel spacecraft without the need for propellant. Existing solar sail concepts also achieve propellantless flight control by actively twisting the sail or altering the sail surface reflectivity. However, this usually consumes energy and leads to structural dynamic issues. In the present study, we propose an innovative method, which uses origami to convert the 2D sail into a 3D optical meta-structure with design-able and manoeuvrable optical properties. Such a device could adjust both the magnitude and the direction of solar radiation pressure without inducing overall distortion in the sail and therefore achieve flight control through a quasi-static process. As an example, a centrifugally deployed heliogyro solar sail with meta-structure morphing reflectors is designed. The reflectors generate stress-dependent solar radiation pressure vector, which propels the spinning of the sail and, according to structural dynamic simulation, achieves a closed-loop controlled centrifugal deployment that is fully passive
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalActa Astronautica
    Early online date11 Aug 2018
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

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