P19101: CubeSat Solar Sail


Table of Contents
Project Summary Project Information

Miniaturized satellites, also known as CubeSats, have become popular recently due to being cheaper to manufacture, having greatly reduced development cycles, and having simpler integration into modern launch vehicles. All of these features make these satellites more accessible to the average person, allowing hobbyist and others to build and launch their own. Due to the rise in interest, these CubeSats have been advancing in many areas such as propulsion, controls, communication and imaging. Solar sails are a means of propulsion using the photons of the sun on a sail similar to how a boat uses the wind to move. Though the concept of solar sails has been around since the early 1900s, the implementation of them is still being perfected. They are much cheaper and lighter than most forms of propulsion since they don't require the space for and replenishment of fuel. A previous MSD team, P18101, designed and built a CubeSat with an expanding and retracting mechanism for a solar sail. The goal of this year's development of the CubeSat is to change the design to allow for a bigger sail. The current sail it not even 2 feet on each side when unfurled. This is not big enough to generate a usable propulsion through space. We will also work on creating a power system. Solar panels will be installed to generate power.

For more detailed background information, view the Project Readiness Package.

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Project Name
CubeSat Solar Sail
Project Number
Project Family
Start Term
End Term
Faculty Guide
Art North, ajnddm@rit.edu
Primary Customer
RIT Space Exploration Research Group (SPEX)
Supplemental funding provided by a gift from Harris Corporation
Primary Customer Contacts
James Parkus, President, jep7631@rit.edu
Faculty Champion
Mihail Barbosu, mxbsma@rit.edu

Team Members

Left to right: Kristin Angel, Nathan Lindberg, Adam Stock, Jarrett Pischera, Brett Saxe

Left to right: Kristin Angel, Nathan Lindberg, Adam Stock, Jarrett Pischera, Brett Saxe

Member Role Email
Kristin Angel Project Manager kxa4466@rit.edu
Nathan Lindberg Lead Software Engineer nml6520@g.rit.edu
Adam Stock Team Leader ans4658@rit.edu
Jarrett Pischera Lead Technical Engineer jxp9521@rit.edu
Brett Saxe Purchasing bxs2342@rit.edu

Work Breakdown: By Phase


Planning & Execution

Project Photos and Videos

Imagine RIT

Gate Reviews

Problem Definition

Systems Design

Preliminary Detailed Design

Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep

Subsystem Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation (Verification & Validation)

Work Breakdown: By Topic

Project Management Design Tools Design Documentation Implementation Validation Presentation & Dissemination





Risk and Problem Management

Communication Minutes

Use Cases


Functional Decomposition

Morphological Chart

Pugh Concept Selection


CAD Files

Mechanical Drawings

Electrical Schematics

Software Diagrams



Test Fixtures


Test Plans

Analysis Results


Test Results

Design Review Documents

Technical Paper


Imagine RIT Exhibit


We would like to thank our guide Art North and everyone else working in the MSD department. Also a special thanks to SPEX for allowing us to work on this project.