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A spaceship with a revolutionary solar sail is ready for launch

A spaceship with a revolutionary solar sail is ready for launch

This is what NASA's new solar sail will look like in orbit

© NASA/Aero Animation/Ben Schweigart

It was thrown out like a tape measure

the Advanced composite solar sail system – This is the strange name of the spacecraft, which is a relatively small satellite (12 Cubesat– Modules), which can open a solar sail with an area of ​​80 square metres. She is the key to this 4 plastic mastsWhich extends the sail. They are during transportation into space Rolled like a metal tape measure. In space, they are unfolded and protrude directly from the satellite envelope while 4 solar sail modules extend between them. Cameras will closely monitor the process.

“7 meters of these foldable supports can be folded to the size that fits in your hand,” he says. Alan Rhodes, chief mission engineer from NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California. If this mechanism is used successfully, this may happen in the future Shaping solar sail spacecraft designsNASA scientists are convinced.

➤ Read more: LightSail 2: The “Sail” space probe burned down.

The night sky is as bright as Sirius

An advanced composite solar sail system from New Zealand is scheduled to launch aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket in April. It also depends on the position of the solar sail in orbit Clearly visible from the ground. According to NASA, it should appear as a bright star in the night sky. The reflective material of a solar sail can detect the object in approximately this way Bright like the star Sirius Make a show.

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On your website NASA refers to the CubeSat and the solar sail as space ship. In this test, several maneuvers will be performed using different sail positions to change the orbit of the spacecraft. The test data collected will allow the construction of larger solar sails to power and control larger spaceships.