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Solar Spacecraft to Launch in 2010

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posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 02:37 AM
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The Planetary Society is planning to launch a solar-propelled space craft in 2010 after its first attempt landed in the ocean four years ago.

The LightSail-1 would run on the pressure of light hitting its four triangular-shaped Mylar sails. The society sees the project as a way to achieve long space flights with slow, continuous acceleration that eventually leads to high speeds. The society's executive director imagines flights of many years reaching speeds of 100,000 mph where the craft could leave the solar system in five years instead of 25.

If it's successful, the society plans to launch LightSails 2 and 3 for longer and farther missions. The 2010 launch will cost almost $2 million and will be privately funded.


Projects: LightSail - The Future of Solar Sailing


ps: I have no idea why images are not being embedded lately - they only come up as a link????


[edit on 17/11/09 by WorldObserver]




posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 03:08 AM
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Quite innovative.... and it's been only 20 some years ago i read science-fiction stories which had these solar-sails incorporated into the tale.


the only real drawback would be that the trajectory of the solar-sail craft could not be toward the leading edge of the solar-systems heliosphere,
because the 'sails' would plow head-on into the compressed 'material' from the Galaxy and collapse the 'sails'.

Scientits will need to send the craft in the opposite direction, where the solar-sails will theoretically always have some photon pressure pushing against the 'sails', even as the craft leaves the solar heliosphere - forever in the solar-systems 'contrail' as it were



posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 05:51 AM
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Originally posted by St Udio


Quite innovative.... and it's been only 20 some years ago i read science-fiction stories which had these solar-sails incorporated into the tale.


the only real drawback would be that the trajectory of the solar-sail craft could not be toward the leading edge of the solar-systems heliosphere,
because the 'sails' would plow head-on into the compressed 'material' from the Galaxy and collapse the 'sails'.

Scientits will need to send the craft in the opposite direction, where the solar-sails will theoretically always have some photon pressure pushing against the 'sails', even as the craft leaves the solar heliosphere - forever in the solar-systems 'contrail' as it were


I was thinking the same thing. How does one use the solar sail to travel to another star? Or is it just for travel away from a star? If the latter is the case, its best use would be a probe.
Surely as you get further from the star pushing you, the star that you are nearing will start pushing back eventually the ship will stop in the middle between the two stars? Make any sense?



EDIT Brain Fart: Unless the sails would be packed away after reaching a certain speed? The ship can then carry on its trajectory without being slowed down by the star it is approaching.. once it reaches it will unpack the sails again to pick up speed for the journey back.

[edit on 17-11-2009 by qwiksilva]



posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 07:10 AM
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Originally posted by St Udio


Quite innovative.... and it's been only 20 some years ago i read science-fiction stories which had these solar-sails incorporated into the tale.


I thought exactly the same... it always amazes me what quantum leaps science makes.
I am still waiting for someone to invent a spaceship using warp technology though...



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