2017.A.3.2. Flyby of 300 main belt asteroids by nanosat fleet using single-tether electric sails

Author(s)

Pekka Janhunen (1)
Petri Toivanen (1)
Jouni Envall (1)
Karri Muinonen (2)
Andris Slavinskis (3,4)

  1. Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland
  2. University of Helsinki, Finland
  3. University of Tartu, Estonia
  4. Tartu Observatory, Estonia

Session

A.3

Keywords

electric solar wind sail, asteroids

Abstract

The electric solar wind sail (E-sail) is a method for generating efficient low-thrust propulsion outside the Earth’s magnetosphere. In its simplest form the E-sail is a single 10–20 km long tether that is stretched using satellite spin. The tether is made of a few tens of micrometres thin metal wires and is biased to positive 10–20 kV voltage by an onboard electron emitter and high-voltage source. The tether is made of multiple redundant and interconnected wires so that it is micrometeoroid tolerant. A flight test of 100 m long E-sail tether is scheduled to be launched in May 2017 onboard Aalto-1 3-U cubesat in low Earth orbit (LEO). Such LEO mission can demonstrate technically the tether deployment and can measure the Coulomb drag in ionospheric plasma. In the solar wind the plasma conditions are different and the E-sail effect there will be measured later by ESTCube-3 cubesat flying into solar wind intersecting orbit.

The electric solar wind sail (E-sail) is a method for generating efficient low-thrust propulsion outside the Earth’s magnetosphere. In its simplest form the E-sail is a single 10–20 km long tether that is stretched using satellite spin. The tether is made of a few tens of micrometres thin metal wires and is biased to positive 10–20 kV voltage by an onboard electron emitter and high-voltage source. The tether is made of multiple redundant and interconnected wires so that it is micrometeoroid tolerant. A flight test of 100 m long E-sail tether is scheduled to be launched in May 2017 onboard Aalto-1 3-U cubesat in low Earth orbit (LEO). Such LEO mission can demonstrate technically the tether deployment and can measure the Coulomb drag in ionospheric plasma. In the solar wind the plasma conditions are different and the E-sail effect there will be measured later by ESTCube-3 cubesat flying into solar wind intersecting orbit.

Presentation

  • Will be made available for download after the workshop

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