NASA’s Nanosail-D Released into the Winds of Space

An artist’s conception of the Nanosail-D satellite in all its glory. Set to unfurl later this week, Nanosail-D will be a milestone in solar sail technology. Image Credit: NASA

Despite being an idea rattling around inside the head of engineers and space enthusiasts for over 40 years, solar sails have never really gained much traction in the way of actual deployment. Today, NASA has taken an important step towards testing solar sail technology for use in future spacecraft.

The Nanosail-D spacecraft was launched Friday, Nov. 19 at 8:25 p.m. EST from Kodiak Island, Alaska, and was piggybacking on another satellite, both aboard a Minotaur IV rocket. It has successfully been ejected from the launch vehicle as of today, and is on its own. Though the sails have yet to deploy, this is already an achievement that bodes well for the future of both solar sail and small satellite technology. (…) Read the rest of NASA’s Nanosail-D Released into the Winds of Space (880 words)

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(C) nick for Universe Today, 2010. | Permalink | 3 comments | Add to Post

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