The deployment experiment of solar sail with a sounding rocket

Yusuke Nishimura, Yuichi Tsuda, Osamu Mori, Jun'ichiro Kawaguchi

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


As one means of propulsion for the future deep space explorers, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is conducting research on the "Solar Sail", which is driven by the momentum of photons from the sunlight. Among several candidates of deployment and shape-forming strategies of the sail, JAXA has been focusing on the utilization of centrifugal force. However, it is very difficult to conduct the deployment experiment of the large membrane structure due to aerodynamic drag and gravity. Then, In August in 2004, we performed the experiment to deploy two types of membrane structures made by polyimide film with a sounding rocket. During the ballistic flight, two types of membranes are deployed in turn. We call the two sails "Clover-type sail" and "Fan-type sail", respectively. The cameras on the rocket recorded the images of the membrane and various sensors measured the behavior of the membrane. The data are transmitted to the ground as the telemetry. We succeeded in deploying the membrane whose diameter is 10 meters in space for the first time in the world. This paper deals with the experiment with the rocket and the result of the Clover-type sail.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Astronautical Federation - 55th International Astronautical Congress 2004 - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 2004 Oct 42004 Oct 8


OtherInternational Astronautical Federation - 55th International Astronautical Congress 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The deployment experiment of solar sail with a sounding rocket'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this