Flight result and analysis of solar sail deployment experiment using S-310 sounding rocket

Yuichi Tsuda, Osamu Mori, Shinsuke Takeuchi, Jun'ichiro Kawaguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is currently studying "Solar Sail" populsion for future deep space explorations. One of the key technologies to realize a solar sail is how light and how compact we can make the photon acceptance surface. JAXA has conducted extensive studies on utlizing centrifugal force to deploy the photon acceptance surface. The final objective is to realize a 7.5μm-thickness and 50m diameter polyimide membrane, combined with a thin flexible solar cells, as the photon acceptance surface that will be needed around the Jupiter orbit. In August 9, 2004, JAXA launched the S-310 sounding rocket, which tested two different shapes of membranes during the zero-gravity flight. The first type of membrane looked like a "clover-leaf", and another is like a "fan". These two membranes, both of them having 10m diameter, were unfolded sequentially during the zero-gravity flight under the free spin condition, and their behavior was observed by onboard cameras. This paper focuses on the "clover-leaf" solar sail, which was fully deployed successfully, and introduces the S-310-34 experiments, and then shows the flight results and postflight evaluations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalSpace Technology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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