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Posted on
Shoebox-Sized Satellite Goes Full Sail

NASA's Near-Earth Asteroid Scout, a small satellite the size of a shoebox, designed to study asteroids close to Earth, performed a full-scale solar sail deployment test at ManTech NeXolve's facility in Huntsville, Ala., on Sept. 13. The test was performed in an indoor cleanroom to ensure the deployment mechanism's functionality after recent environmental testing.

NEA Scout is a six-unit CubeSat that relies on an innovative solar sail for propulsion. It is one of 13 secondary science payloads NASA selected to fly on the initial launch of NASA's Space Launch System rocket. When deployed, the sail is square in shape with each side about the length of a school bus, and harnesses solar energy to use as propulsion to move through space. Instead of wind, solar sails reflect sunlight for thrust, minimizing the need for fuel. This method results in cost savings due to the reduced weight and size of the payload with reduced fuel and provides the satellite with the ability to travel through space. The NEA Scout solar sail will deploy from the spacecraft using four arms — called booms — to hold the sail, much like a sail on a ship.

When fully deployed, NEA Scout's solar sail is the length of a school bus. This sail is used to reflect sunlight to use as propulsion for the satellite as it moves through space, minimizing the need for fuel and paving the way for deep-space exploration missions. Image: NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given

“Last year, we did a deployment test on a half-scale prototype of the solar sail. We used the findings to make several improvements to the spacecraft’s sail deployment mechanism," says Tiffany Lockett, a NEA Scout sail systems engineer at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. "We incorporated a larger motor to help retract the booms after deployment and upgraded the software to perform the test. Also, we improved the sail restraint tab that holds the sail in place prior to deployment for easier sail deployment, upgraded the connection between the sail and the booms, and included a pin puller to help lock the sail spool during transportation."

To minimize the amount of human intervention needed to deploy the sail in a gravity environment, the team had to come up with a way to reduce friction where possible. Engineers used improved sliders to allow the booms to glide easily across the surface of the table with less friction.

"We learned a lot from the results of today's test. The motor performed as anticipated and three of the four sail restraint tabs released on time. The new improved booms operated much better under less friction," says Alex Few, NEA Scout sail systems mechanical designer at Marshall. "We look forward to analyzing the results further in the coming weeks."

NASA engineers tested the deployment of a full-size solar sail on the CubeSat, NEA Scout at ManTech NeXolve's Huntsville, Alabama, facility on Sept. 13. NEA Scout will launch as a secondary science payload to study near-Earth asteroids on NASA's Space Launch System's inaugural flight. Image: NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given

The team will use these findings to make final adjustments to the testing of the solar sail that will be used in flight, scheduled for testing later this year.

"NEA Scout will perform a reconnaissance fly-by and take pictures of an asteroid to learn more about the risks and challenges they may pose to future human exploration missions," says Les Johnson, NEA Scout’s solar sail principal investigator at Marshall. "It will deploy from the rocket after the Orion spacecraft is separated from the upper stage."

NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems manages NEA Scout with the team led at Marshall with support from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. and NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. AES infuses new technologies developed by NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate and partners with the Science Mission Directorate to address the unknowns and mitigate risks for crews and systems during future human exploration missions.

Source: NASA

by Shannon Ridinger, Marshall Space Flight Center

 

https://www.cemag.us/news/2017/09/shoebox-sized-satellite-goes-full-sail

Posted on

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170926133928.htm 

 

Near-Earth asteroid CubeSat goes full sail

Date:
September 26, 2017
Source:
NASA
Summary:
NASA's Near-Earth Asteroid Scout, a small satellite the size of a shoebox, designed to study asteroids close to Earth, recently performed a full-scale solar sail deployment test. The test was performed in an indoor clean room to ensure the deployment mechanism's functionality after recent environmental testing.

When fully deployed, NEA Scout's solar sail is the length of a school bus. This sail is used to reflect sunlight to use as propulsion for the satellite as it moves through space, minimizing the need for fuel and paving the way for deep-space exploration missions.
Credit: NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given
 
 

NASA's Near-Earth Asteroid Scout, a small satellite the size of a shoebox, designed to study asteroids close to Earth, performed a full-scale solar sail deployment test at ManTech NeXolve's facility in Huntsville, Alabama, Sept. 13. The test was performed in an indoor clean room to ensure the deployment mechanism's functionality after recent environmental testing.

NEA Scout is a six-unit CubeSat that relies on an innovative solar sail for propulsion. It is one of 13 secondary science payloads NASA selected to fly on the initial launch of NASA's Space Launch System rocket. When deployed, the sail is square in shape with each side about the length of a school bus, and harnesses solar energy to use as propulsion to move through space. Instead of wind, solar sails reflect sunlight for thrust, minimizing the need for fuel. This method results in cost savings due to the reduced weight and size of the payload with reduced fuel and provides the satellite with the ability to travel through space. The NEA Scout solar sail will deploy from the spacecraft using four arms -- called booms -- to hold the sail, much like a sail on a ship.

"Last year, we did a deployment test on a half-scale prototype of the solar sail. We used the findings to make several improvements to the spacecraft's sail deployment mechanism," said Tiffany Lockett, a NEA Scout sail systems engineer at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. "We incorporated a larger motor to help retract the booms after deployment and upgraded the software to perform the test. Also, we improved the sail restraint tab that holds the sail in place prior to deployment for easier sail deployment, upgraded the connection between the sail and the booms, and included a pin puller to help lock the sail spool during transportation."

To minimize the amount of human intervention needed to deploy the sail in a gravity environment, the team had to come up with a way to reduce friction where possible. Engineers used improved sliders to allow the booms to glide easily across the surface of the table with less friction.

"We learned a lot from the results of today's test. The motor performed as anticipated and three of the four sail restraint tabs released on time. The new improved booms operated much better under less friction," said Alex Few, NEA Scout sail systems mechanical designer at Marshall. "We look forward to analyzing the results further in the coming weeks."

The team will use these findings to make final adjustments to the testing of the solar sail that will be used in flight, scheduled for testing later this year.

"NEA Scout will perform a reconnaissance fly-by and take pictures of an asteroid to learn more about the risks and challenges they may pose to future human exploration missions," said Les Johnson, NEA Scout's solar sail principal investigator at Marshall. "It will deploy from the rocket after the Orion spacecraft is separated from the upper stage."

Story Source:

  1. Materials providedNASANote: Content may be edited for style and length.

NASA. "Near-Earth asteroid CubeSat goes full sail." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170926133928.htm>.

REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Aug. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The first of the five sunshield layers that will make it possible for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to image the formation of stars and galaxies created more than 13.5 billion years ago, was delivered to Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE: NOC) Space Park facility April 24.

Northrop Grumman is designing the Webb Telescope's optics, sunshield and spacecraft for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland Innovative sunshield membranes are being designed and manufactured by NeXolve Corporation, a subsidiary of ManTech International Corporation (NASDAQ: MANT) of Huntsville, Alabama.

The Webb Telescope will be the largest telescope in space. Its sunshield, which is the size of a tennis court, is constructed with five individual layers of Kapton, which effectively reduces the temperatures between the hot and cold sides of the observatory by approximately 570 degrees Fahrenheit. Each successive layer of the sunshield is cooler than the one below, preventing the interference of background heat with the telescope's infrared sensor.

"Through extensive testing we have proven that the innovative sunshield design works," said Jim Flynn, Webb sunshield manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "We are thrilled to receive the first flight layer from NeXolve as we prepare for 2018 launch."

NeXolve is manufacturing the other four layers and will individually shape-test each to ensure they meet requirements. This delivery to Northrop Grumman signifies the beginning of final flight hardware completion for the sunshield. Next, Northrop Grumman will integrate the final flight layers into the sunshield subsystem, to conduct folding and deployment testing as part of the final system validation process.

"Our entire ManTech team has worked diligently to achieve the manufacturing completion of the first sunshield layer and successfully deliver it to our partners at Northrop Grumman," said Greg Laue, sunshield program manager, NeXolve. "Delivery of the first flight layer is the culmination of years of development and manufacturing and we are thrilled to have accomplished this major program milestone."

The Webb Telescope is the world's next-generation space observatory and successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Webb Telescope will observe distant objects in the universe, provide images of the first galaxies formed and see unexplored planets around distant stars. The Webb Telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

About Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

About ManTech

ManTech is a leading provider of innovative technologies and solutions for mission-critical national security programs. ManTech's expertise includes C4ISR; cybersecurity; global logistics; IT; intelligence; systems engineering; test and evaluation; environmental, range and sustainability services; and healthcare analytics and IT. Additional information on ManTech can be found at www.mantech.com.

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Sunshield is Taking Shape at ManTech's NeXolve Subsidiary

Company Completes Manufacturing and Shape Testing of First Flight Layer of Telescope's Sunshield System

FAIRFAX, Va., Jan. 8, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ManTech International Corporation (Nasdaq:MANT) announced today that its NeXolve subsidiary has completed manufacturing and shape testing of the first layer of the James Webb Space Telescope's sunshield system. NeXolve is subcontractor to Northrop Grumman in manufacturing the one-of-a-kind sunshield membranes.

The Webb Telescope is NASA's largest science mission and will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. The five-layer sunshield system is designed to protect the telescope from the extreme conditions it will experience while in operation. As big as a tennis court, the sunshield layer is made of Kapton® (Kapton is a registered mark of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company), a very thin, high-performance plastic with a reflective metallic coating. Each layer of the sunshield system must maintain a unique, complex shape on orbit to sustain the optimum environment for the telescope.