Solar sail as propellant-less micropropulsion

Yimeng Li, Kean How Cheah

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review


The exploration of space tends to move on alternate and renewable energy with a limiting mission budget. Therefore, considerable attention has been paid to utilizing solar sail as propellant-less propulsion, which takes advantage of reflecting solar photons by large size membrane sail. This chapter describes the historical development of solar sailing technology, including its advantages and applications. A set of operating principles within the area of transfer trajectory, non-Keplerian orbit generation, altitude, and structural control dynamics is then presented, along with a description of performance measurement. A survey of the current status of the art in CubeSat solar sail and a summary of completed and planned missions, such as NanoSail and NEA Scout projects, are also discussed. Finally, ongoing challenges in orbital dynamics and material technologies are proposed, along with possible technology trends and innovative concepts to develop next-generation solar sailing missions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpace Micropropulsion for Nanosatellites
EditorsKean How Cheah
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780128190388
ISBN (Print)9780128190371
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2022


  • CubeSat
  • Propellant-less propulsion
  • Solar photons
  • Solar sail


Dive into the research topics of 'Solar sail as propellant-less micropropulsion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this