28 March 2005 Thermal/optical characterization of membrane materials for solar sails
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Abstract
To date, a full-scale solar sail has never flown in space. Furthermore, solar sail technology development represents a field that only recently has enjoyed significant support. The goal of this work is to contribute to the development of a low-mass ODS for solar sails that would include research and development in the areas of photogrammetry and thermography. The focus of this work was on the development of the thermography system. A measurement protocol was designed for obtaining accurate temperature measurements using thermal imaging when heat was applied to the membrane surface. Two main limitations were considered during the experimental process. The first is that conventional infrared detector arrays must be kept cool. To minimize the effect that an imager’s operating temperature would have on the ODS, a miniature, un-cooled microbolometer was used to acquire temperature measurements from the membrane surface. A second limitation is that a detector array cannot distinguish between emitted and reflected photons, thus presenting a significant problem if one cannot predict the reflected component or if the reflected component is significantly greater than the emitted. To address this limitation, spectral properties of the membrane, including reflectance and transmission, were analyzed using a Hemispherical Directional Reflectometer (HDR) to predict the effects that optical properties would have on sail membrane temperatures. A thermal modeling strategy was also developed. The results of this investigation are presented.
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Stefanie Bourne, Chelsea Jenkins, and Hunter Post "Thermal/optical characterization of membrane materials for solar sails", Proc. SPIE 5782, Thermosense XXVII, (28 March 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.605836; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.605836
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