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Solar Sail

— Space

LightSail successfully deploys solar sail

By - June 10, 2015 1 Picture

The Planetary Society today confirmed that its LightSail satellite successfully deployed its Mylar solar sail, achieving the main objective of the mission after 19 days in low-Earth orbit. The CubeSat, which is about the size of a loaf of bread, completed transmission of its first image to a ground station at Poly San Luis Obispo in California, showing the sail open and partly spread out.

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— Space

Planetary Society's LightSail to make first test flight in May

By - February 1, 2015 3 Pictures
Though we tend to think of private spaceflight as being in the SpaceX league, it also includes many smaller-scale efforts. For example, the non-profit Planetary Society has announced that its LightSail spacecraft will make its first test flight in May. The solar-propelled CubeSat will lift off as a piggyback cargo atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Read More
— Space

ESA develops "snap-proof" space tether

By - April 1, 2013 9 Pictures
This month, the University of Helsinki and the European Space Agency (ESA) will test a new space tether that has less chance of snapping under the stresses of operating in orbit. Installed aboard Estonia’s ESTCube-1 cubesat, the new tether is scheduled to be launched with ESA’s Proba-V satellite atop a Vega rocket as part of an experiment in developing an electric solar sail. Read More
— Space

NASA to fly largest solar sail ever, in 2014

By - February 5, 2013 2 Pictures
NASA is getting ready to ride the “winds” of space on sails lighter than gossamer, yet large enough to cover a small field. The space agency’s Solar Sail Demonstration, also known as the Sunjammer Project, may launch as early as 2014 when it will send the largest solar sail yet built into orbit, to demonstrate the technical viability of the device. Read More
— Space

Deflecting asteroids with paint balls

By - October 27, 2012 3 Pictures
How do you deflect a civilization-destroying asteroid that's heading straight for Earth? Shoot paintballs at it. This may sound like an exercise in futility, but if the calculations of MIT graduate student Sung Wook Paek are correct, then the sport of running around in the woods shooting splotches of paint at people on the weekends could get a lot more respect. Read More

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