IKAROS wakes up from hibernation mode for third time
The IKAROS seemed to wake up from its hibernation mode in mid April, and JAXA searched for it based on its attitude and orbit prediction to receive its radio waves. On May 22 (Thu.), we successfully found the IKAROS, which is flying at a distance of about 230 million kilometers from the Earth. We will continue to receive data from the IKAROS until mid June to confirm its condition and analyze the information. The IKAROS, launched in May 2010, completed its mission, and is now revolving around t...
- July 14, 2010 (15:30)
- Small Solar Power Sail Demonstrator 'IKAROS' Successfully Observed Gamma-ray Burst
About Small Solar Power Sail Demonstrator "IKAROS"
Space yacht accelerated by radiation of the Sun
A Solar Sail gathers sunlight as propulsion by means of a large membrane while a Solar "Power" Sail gets electricity from thin film solar cells on the membrane in addition to acceleration by solar radiation. What's more, if the ion-propulsion engines with high specific impulse are driven by such solar cells, it can become a "hybrid" engine that is combined with photon acceleration to realize fuel-effective and flexible missions.
Launch date: May 21, 2010
Characteristics of Small Solar Power Sail Demonstrator "IKAROS"
Vast, thin, and strong solar sail
A solar sail can move forward without consuming propellant as long as it can generate enough energy from sunlight. This idea was born some 100 years ago, but it had lots of technical hurdles such as the appropriate material and deployment method for the sail. Recently, we have finally seen some prospect of using this technology practically. The sail of the IKAROS is a huge square some 20 meters in a diagonal line, as thin as 0.0075 mm, and made from polyimide resin. On the membrane of the sail are not only thin film solar cells but also an Attitude Control device and scientific observation sensors. This thin and light solar sail membrane will be deployed using the centrifugal force of spinning the main body of the IKAROS before its tension is maintained. The deployment is in two stages. The first stage is carried out quasi-statically by the onboard deployment mechanism on the side of the main body. The second stage is the dynamic deployment. As this deployment method does not require a strut such as a boom, it can contribute to making it lighter, thus can be apply for a larger membrane.
|International Designation Code||2010-020E|
|Launch Date||6:58, May 21, 2010 (JST)|
|Launch Vehicle||H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.17|
|Location||Tanegashima Space Center|
|Configuration / Body||Diam. 1.6 m x Height 0.8 m (Cylinder shape)|
|Configuration / Membrane||Square of side 14 m and cross section 20 m (after deployment)|
|Weight||Mass at liftoff: about 310 kg|