This paper evaluates the effectiveness of drag sails on maintaining a ram-facing orientation for a 3U CubeSat in Equatorial Low Earth Orbit. The influence of varying the drag sail area and inertia tensor on the aerostabilization characteristics and orbit of the spacecraft is examined through computational modeling of the spacecraft dynamics in Matlab-Simulink. The study also investigates the ability of a commercially available attitude control system to slew the spacecraft into a low-drag orientation to extend orbital lifetime. The results indicate that undamped aerostabilization of a 3U CubeSat is feasible, and provides acceptable conditions for limited scientific observation. In addition, the simulation results demonstrate that the spacecraft is capable of entering and maintaining a low-drag orientation for five days without reaction wheel saturation.

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Conference AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, ASC 2015
Kedare, S.S. (Siddharth S.), & Ulrich, S. (2016). Undamped passive attitude stabilization and orbit management of a 3U cubesat with drag sails. In Advances in the Astronautical Sciences (pp. 1231–1248).