Material Systems for Solar Sails 940056

The use of the solar sail cargo spacecraft in a manned mission to Mars can provide inexpensive means to deliver large payloads in different planetary regions. This paper deals with requirements for material systems for solar sails. Systems based on polyimide and polyester dielectrics were analyzed. Several metallization approaches were experimentally verified. An optimal ratio of the overall metal thickness to the intensity of UV radiation was calculated. This paper provides solar-sail-as-payload calculations for the existing spacecraft design. Using computer finite element analyses, electronic microscopy and experimental procedures, the mechanical stresses and forces were investigated.


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