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Solar Sails – Take me with you! April 12, 2012

Posted by Mark Flavin in Technology.

Solar sail unfurledI like free and traveling through space with no fuel is a good kind of free. NASA has plans to orbit a large demonstration solar sail in 2014. By large I mean 124 feet square or 15,376 sq. ft.! It will be the largest solar sail flown to date. Using just solar radiation pressure from the sun it will create a very small amount of thrust but it is constant thrust. This is perfect for certain missions like ferrying supplies or propellant from one point in space to another point in space at no cost for fuel; all of this at 70 lbs. of mass. The sail uses steering vanes for attitude control, again propellant-less maneuvering.

The L’Garde Technology Demonstration Mission will demonstrate maneuverability, trim and stability as well as precision navigation to a specific location in space. It is to  be launched with a Falcon 9 rocket by Space X, the premier commercial start-up rocket company.

Now if they just had Windjammer Barefoot Cruises to Mars…

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