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SCI/TECH: NASA tests solar sail technology

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posted on May, 16 2005 @ 03:05 PM
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We are one step closer to a real spacecraft with solar wind propulsion system. A new prototype has been tested and worked well. Looks like there is a lot going on in that area, as one of such space sail systems will be launched into space within weeks.
 



www.cnn.com
ATK scientist Dave Murphy told the New Scientist magazine that the first deployment of the solar sail, which weighs just 23 kilograms, had gone "flawlessly." The series of tests continue until July.

Murphy said a solar sail spacecraft would need a wingspan of 80 to 160 meters to gain sufficient momentum from the sun, depending on the mass of the craft.

Since the spacecraft would continue to accelerate, reaching speeds of tens of thousands of miles an hour, it could theoretically reach the edge of the solar system faster than a conventionally fueled craft.

Japan has already deployed two solar sails in space, while the Planetary Society, a non-profit U.S. group dedicated to promoting space exploration, hopes to launch its first solar sail from a Russian submarine in the next few weeks.





Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


If these prototypes work well, we could see a fleet of such vehicles used to send small scientific payloads to study the Solar System, within a decade.




posted on May, 16 2005 @ 03:15 PM
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Sweet! I like the description "flawlessly."

I can't wait to see this new technology in action.

Zip



posted on May, 20 2005 @ 09:00 AM
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Solar sail tech is very intresting, but one thing always makes me question it. In theory, the sail will eventually reach currently un-attainable speeds. However, eventually, leaves alot to be desired. How fast will these sails be able to achieve momentum? From what I have read, it is a slow and painstakingly incrimental process. Though the speeds can be achieved with this method, it seems it would take a decade just to get up to speed. Maybe if they coupled this sail tech with a propulsion system capable of getting it going before the sails deployed, it would seem more feesable to me. But hey, what do I know. This may be our first step towards light speed


[edit on 5/20/05 by Kidfinger]



posted on May, 20 2005 @ 09:11 AM
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Or you can make the sail bigger, a Mission to Mars would take around a month using this technology according to simulations.

[edit on 20-5-2005 by sardion2000]



posted on May, 20 2005 @ 09:13 AM
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Originally posted by sardion2000
a Mission to Mars would take around a month using this technology according to simulations.

[edit on 20-5-2005 by sardion2000]


Do you have a link for this? I havent seen any Solar Sail sims for a trip to Mars. I would enjoy the read



posted on May, 20 2005 @ 09:16 AM
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Originally posted by Kidfinger

Originally posted by sardion2000
a Mission to Mars would take around a month using this technology according to simulations.

[edit on 20-5-2005 by sardion2000]


Do you have a link for this? I havent seen any Solar Sail sims for a trip to Mars. I would enjoy the read


Dude, next thing we know we'll have Solar Surfers, decked out in space suits, like totally surfing the Solar system!

LOL



posted on May, 20 2005 @ 09:17 AM
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Here you go Kidfinger

dsc.discovery.com...

www.rednova.com...

Sry it was 90 days not a month, but still pretty fast considering.

Oops looks like I found the 30 day method here

www.newscientist.com...

[edit on 20-5-2005 by sardion2000]




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