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Latest Solar sail Stories

aab50c55b0b195f9252dec3c901cc7471
2010-09-20 08:32:16

A new golden age of sailing may be about to begin "“ in space.  Future missions to explore the outer planets could employ fleets of "Ëœdata-clippers', maneuverable spacecraft equipped with solar sails, to ship vast quantities of scientific data to back Earth. According to Joel Poncy of Thales Alenia Space, the technology could be ready in time to support mid-term missions to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Poncy will be presenting an assessment of data clippers at the...

0b2847ad86cc4a61b9dd86c3a9d4ff221
2010-07-26 09:45:00

When American space pioneer, Dr Robert L Forward, proposed in 1984 a way of greatly improving satellite telecommunications using a new family of orbits, some claimed it was impossible. But now engineers at the University of Strathclyde's Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory have proved that Forward was right. The late Dr Forward - a renowned physicist who worked in the United States and from his second home in Scotland - believed it was possible to use 'displaced orbits' to deploy more...

3c961e8e120a58f373deda0f37e0634a
2010-07-14 06:30:00

An unmanned probe launched by Japan's space agency had a successful test of its innovative solar sail propulsion system, after getting its first acceleration push from sunlight, the agency announced. Based on observations of the Ikaros solar sail, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirmed the probe has received a growing speed boost from light radiated by the sun. "The small solar power sail demonstrator 'Ikaros,' which successfully deployed its solar sail, was confirmed to...

ed129621a85974ec71cbcda318fcc08b1
2010-06-16 11:24:37

A tiny camera has revealed that Japan's Ikaros solar sail is fully extended and ready for the next part of its mission. The camera that took the picture was ejected from the central hub of Ikaros.  It transmitted the image back to the central hub of the spacecraft, which relayed the data back to Earth. Ikaros will demonstrate the principle of solar sailing, which has been long envisioned as a future means of getting around the Solar System. The pressure of sunlight should drive the...

13f842fd2537a4a8f15dc0d7e3f38edd1
2010-06-11 09:45:00

Japanese scientists are celebrating the successful deployment of their Ikaros solar sail. The 2,100-square foot membrane is attached to a small disc-shaped spacecraft that was put into orbit last month by an H-IIA rocket. Ikaros will demonstrate the principle of using sunlight as a simple and efficient means of propulsion. The technique has been long seen as a way to move spacecrafts around the Solar System without using chemical fuels. The mission team will be watching to see if Ikaros...

0fa78ba35d77d59b9990b37c34c3e1521
2010-05-21 11:30:00

Japan successfully launched its Venus probe and a kite-shaped "space yacht" early Friday for a two-year mission to study the planet Venus and its climate. The launch vehicle, the H-IIA rocket, took off from the Tanegashima space center in southern Japan on schedule at 6:58 am Friday morning, three days after its original launch was postponed due to inclement weather. Teruaki Kawai, space business manager for the rocket maker, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, told a press conference that the...

389526a393f48ca0a631ba6da6b07b66
2009-11-10 14:33:06

The Planetary Society on Monday announced plans to launch its second attempt at a spacecraft that will be powered by the sun. The first time the society attempted to launch a solar sail five years ago, it fell short of its orbital target and landed in the ocean. "We are going to merge the ultra-light technology of nanosats with the ultra-large technology of solar sails in an audacious new program-- setting a course to the stars," said Louis D. Friedman, co-founder of The Planetary Society....

fd933bbecd86e14806de5e38c39bccac1
2009-10-16 08:45:00

Direct communication between Earth and Mars can be strongly disturbed and even blocked by the Sun for weeks at a time, cutting off any future human mission to the Red Planet. An ESA engineer working with engineers in the UK may have found a solution using a new type of orbit combined with continuous-thrust ion propulsion. The European researchers studied a possible solution to a crucial problem affecting future human missions to Mars: how to ensure reliable radio communication even when Mars...

6371ea7f66cd0f707d7958b9c686aebb1
2008-09-08 09:30:00

On September 4, the MESSENGER team announced that it would not need to implement a scheduled maneuver to adjust the probe's trajectory. This is the fourth time this year that such a maneuver has been called off. The reason? A recently implemented navigational technique that makes use of solar-radiation pressure (SRP) to guide the probe has been extremely successful at maintaining MESSENGER on a trajectory that will carry it over the cratered surface of Mercury for a second time on October 6....

72a1a8a868fa208da6b093766d572b4b
2008-08-01 05:30:00

Long ago, someone stood alone on a sandy shore and gazed longingly out at the seemingly endless expanse of ocean, over a horizon suffused softly with ocean mist, musing "I wonder, what's out there?" Then, they fashioned a boat, rigged it with a large cloth to catch the wind, and set sail. Not quite so long ago, someone stood alone on a sandy shore and gazed longingly up at the seemingly endless expanse of space, suffused softly with sparkling stars, musing "I wonder, what's out there?" Then,...


Word of the Day
malpais
  • The ragged surface of a lava-flow.
'Malpais' translates from Spanish as 'bad land.'