Aurora project: removal of plastic substrate to obtain an all-metal solar sail

S. Scaglione, G. Vulpetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


The Orbital Angular Momentum Reversal (H-Reversal mode), is a new class of trajectories to get a cruise speed ranging from 12 to 20 AU/yr. To accomplish the H-reversal mode, a sailcraft needs of all metal solar sail. The solar sail envisaged by the 'AURORA Project' is composed of two metallic layers (Al and Cr) deposited on plastic substrate. To obtain an all metal solar sail, required by the Project, the substrate must be removed in orbit. In order to accomplish that, two possible methods are described in this paper. The first one is based on the UV degradation of a buffer layer located between the substrate and the metallic layers. The UV degradation would be the starting mechanism that causes the interface weakness. The Diamond Like Carbon has been used as buffer layer and preliminary experimental results on its UV degradation are reported. The second method exploits the characteristic of most plastics to be etched (ashing process) by the atomic oxygen. The number density of atomic oxygen in Low Earth Orbit could be enough to remove a properly-selected plastic substrate in short time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147 - 150
Number of pages4
JournalActa Astronautica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering

Cite this