Distributed reflectivity solar sails for extended mission applications

Andreas Borggrafe, Matteo Ceriotti, Jeannette Heiligers, Colin McInnes

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

129 Downloads (Pure)


The dynamics of solar sails with a variable surface reflectivity distribution are investigated. When changing the reflectivity across the sail film, solar radiation pressure forces and torques can be controlled without changing the attitude of the spacecraft relative to the Sun or using attitude control actuators. The reflectivity can in principle be modified using electro-chromic coatings, which are applied here as examples to counteract gravity-gradient torques in Earth orbit and to enable specific shape profiles of a flexible sail film. This ‘optical reconfiguration’ method introduces an adaptive solar sail as a multi-functional platform for novel mission applications.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2014
Event3rd International Symposium on Solar Sailing - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Jun 201313 Jun 2013


Conference3rd International Symposium on Solar Sailing
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • solar sails
  • surface reflectivity
  • mission applications


Dive into the research topics of 'Distributed reflectivity solar sails for extended mission applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this