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Japan Unfurls Solar Sail in Orbit [simple and efficient propulsion]

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posted on Jun, 11 2010 @ 05:16 AM
As we once used sails to traverse the Oceans it now looks like we may do the same to sail the Solar System .
Japanese scientists are today celebrating the successful deployment of the solar sail Ikaros .

(1) For the deployment, the disc-shaped Ikaros spacecraft was first spun up
(2) The four weighted corners of the sail were then released and flew outwards
(3) Finally, the packed sail membrane was released and pulled flat by the rotating tips

Ikaros will demonstrate the principle of using sunlight as a simple and efficient means of propulsion. The technique has long been touted as a way of moving spacecraft around the Solar System using no chemical fuels. The mission team will be watching to see if Ikaros produces a measurable acceleration, and how well its systems are able to steer the craft through space. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa) said in a statement that its scientists and engineers had begun to deploy the solar sail on 3 June (JST). On 10 June, Jaxa said, confirmation was received that the sail had expanded successfully and was generating power through the thin film solar cells embedded in the membrane

[edit on 11-6-2010 by gortex]

posted on Jun, 11 2010 @ 05:37 AM
reply to post by gortex

Great stuff!!

It's got to be a way forward away from conventional forms of chemical fuelled spacecraft, It'll be very interesting to see what the acceleration rate will be and if it is indeed a viable form of travel.

posted on Jun, 11 2010 @ 06:04 AM
Orbital solar cells with computer control i.e autopilot .

All we need is to build a supergun so we can shoot them up in their thousands for self assembly and energy production begins .

Good idea indeed .

posted on Jun, 11 2010 @ 06:28 AM
Ever since I have read a sci/fi about solar sailing races as a kid I always liked the concept.

(offtopic, if anyone knows which scifi story or book u2u me)

I hope to see that this Japanese mission is successful and we see more usage of it in the future.

posted on Jun, 11 2010 @ 06:58 AM
I hope that they can go very fast with this. Do enybody now's how fast it can go? Solarwinds are vey fast. Travels it with the speed of this?

posted on Jun, 11 2010 @ 07:01 AM
Great to see the Japanese making huge strides in space propulsion if only they could get past their ridiculous science experiments on whales for meat.

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