The Flying Carpet: Aerodynamic High-Altitude Solar Reflector Design Study
Our concept studies indicate that a set of reflectors floated in the upper atmosphere can efficiently reduce radiant forcing into the atmosphere. The cost of reducing the radiant forcing sufficiently to reverse the current rate of Global Warming, is well within reach of global financial resources. This paper summarizes the overall concept and focuses on one of the reflector concepts, the Flying Carpet. The basic element of this reflector array is a rigidized reflector sheet towed behind and above a solar-powered, distributed electric-propelled flying wing. The vehicle rises above 30,480 m (100,000 ft) in the daytime by solar power. At night, the very low wing loading of the sheets enables the system to stay well above the controlled airspace ceiling of 18,288 m (60,000 ft). The concept study results are summarized before going into technical issues in implementation. Flag instability is studied in initial wind tunnel experiments.