2018.B.1.4. Nanospacecraft design for an interplanetary fleet formation propelled by E-sails


Iaroslav Iakubivskyi (1)
Laurynas Maciulis (2)
Pekka Janhunen (3)
Andris Slavinskis (1)
Mart Noorma (1)

  1. Tartu Observatory, Estonia
  2. Antanas Gustaitis’ Aviation Institute, Lithuania
  3. Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland




Nanospacecraft architecture, E-sail, Deep CubeSat, Space Systems


This work describes the detailed design of small spacecraft for interplanetary mission. We present a preliminary selection of optimal materials and configurations for thermal and radiation environments. The main spacecraft consists of approximately three CubeSat units and includes an auxiliary unit for deployment of the electric solar wind sail (E-sail). E-sail is a primary propulsion employing 10-20 km metallic charged tether. The minimum viable E-sail configuration can propel ~ 5-6 kg body to the main asteroid belt. The spacecraft will spin slowly (~2 rpm) and maintain the tether stretched. It will be achieved by attaching a mass body or so-called remote unit on a tether’s tip. Hence, the remote unit will orbit the main spacecraft in the unnatural way by means of centrifugal force. The remote unit utilizes wireless communication with the main spacecraft. The round trip will take 3-4 years. The structural and thermal requirements remain similar for both bodies. This study is performed for Multi-Asteroid Touring mission (Slavinskis, 2018).


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