Liquid crystal device with microstructure for attitude control of spacecraft by solar radiation pressure

Toshihiro Chujo, Hirokazu Ishida, Osamu Mori, Junichiro Kawaguchi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


As fuel-free attitude control devices for spacecraft, we introduce Liquid Crystal Devices (LCDs). LCDs consist of multiple thin layers (∼ 150 µm thick in total) including Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal (PDLC) and a base film that has microstructure with aluminum deposited on it. By applying voltage, reflectivity of the surface of LCDs changes as the PDLC is directed to the electric field, and applying Solar Radiation Pressure (SRP) changes accordingly. In addition, the microstructure changes the angle of reflection only when voltage is applied such that incident light is reflected on the aluminum on it. These mean that LCDs can control both the magnitude and direction of reflection electrically, and three-degree-of-freedom attitude control can be realized by multiple LCDs mounted on a single plane controlling SRP. As light is diffracted on the microstructure and optical interference occurs, and PDLC has polarization effect, reflection on LCDs is a complex phenomenon and it must be understood for the design to realize desired performance. In this paper, we introduce basic reflection principles and a manufacturing method, and confirm them by making prototypes and measuring the distribution of luminous intensity. The performance of prototypes of LCDs is estimated based on the measurement. The results indicate validity of the reflection principles and the usefulness of LCDs considering the future view as attitude control devices.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpace Flight Mechanics Meeting
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624105333
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventSpace Flight Mechanics Meeting, 2018 - Kissimmee, United States
Duration: 2018 Jan 82018 Jan 12

Publication series

NameSpace Flight Mechanics Meeting, 2018


ConferenceSpace Flight Mechanics Meeting, 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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