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"We're solar sailing!"

Started by lintonius, 01/24/2011 04:14PM
Posted 01/24/2011 04:14PM Opening Post
This is pretty cool....

In an unexpected reversal of fortune, NASA's NanoSail-D spacecraft has unfurled a gleaming sheet of space-age fabric 650 km above Earth, becoming the first-ever solar sail to circle our planet.

"We're solar sailing!" says NanoSail-D principal investigator Dean Alhorn of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. "This is a momentous achievement."

full story at:

No matter what happens next, NanoSail-D has already made history: It has demonstrated an elegant and inexpensive method for deploying sails and become the first sail to orbit Earth. Eventually, the team will diagnose the sail’s reluctance to leave FASTSAT—"and then we'll be batting a thousand," says Alhorn.

Posted 02/19/2011 10:21PM | Edited 02/19/2011 10:38PM #1
Until those lubberly swabs can tack, jibe, beat to sunward, and blast a Chinese satellite out of orbit with a caronnade and grapeshot, I'm not impressed. wink

But, I'd imagine astronauts would have to stretch out along a spar and reef the sails in the event of a solar flare. If one lost his grip, he could spin off into space. Ah, this solar sail stuff has some possibilities. It's time NASA got out of the science and math business and back into good old fashioned adventure... wink

Attached Image:

Lee_S's attachment for post 139947

I have several telescopes, but none are semi-APO, APO, or in anyway valuable.