NASA builds 1,208 square meters of solar sails

NASA will launch Sunjammer, the largest solar sail ship to date, to demonstrate the feasibility of not carrying propellant for space flight. The mission was launched in November 2014 and the Falcon 9 rocket will perform the launch at Cape Canaveral launch site. The Sunjammer solar sail space has an area of ​​1,208 square meters. The huge "solar sail" allows the spacecraft to soar in the "ocean" of space. Scientists believe that solar sail technology is currently one of the most promising space travel programs, although the acceleration process It seems to be quite slow, but the accumulated speed in the later period is quite impressive.

Solar sail technology is like the future "sailing" of interstellar navigation. It can carry out long-distance space flight without carrying fuel.

The Falcon 9 rocket will not only put the solar sail ship into orbit but also carry the Deep Space Climate Observation Satellite of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States. It will be located at the Sun-Earth Lagrange Point 1, approximately from the ground. 1.5 million kilometers. The Sunjammer solar sail space has a span of 38 meters and the best orbital distance is 3 million kilometers. Michael Garrick, NASA's deputy director of space technology, believes that the successful launch of the solar sail ship will herald the opening of the new aerospace power field. We can not only use solar sails for space flight, but also can be used to clean up orbital debris, allow powerful sail-shaped capture devices to operate in Earth orbit, clean orbital debris, and can also be used for communication and observation satellites.

The Sunjammer solar sail ship uses an advanced polyimide film sail surface, weighing only 32 kilograms, but it can provide power to drive the spacecraft. Of course, this solar sail ship is not the first. The Ikaros solar sail probe developed by the Japanese space agency entered orbit in June 2010 and became the first solar sail powered spaceship in human history. Five months later, NASA launched the NanoSail-D detector. The solar sail area was 10 square meters and it took about 240 days.

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