Solar Sail First Flight Test (May 2015)

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Solar Sail First Flight Test (May 2015)

Postby Darby on March 31st, 2015, 10:12 pm

The planetary society's first test flight to eval/demo a solar sail now has a timeline ... ... vents.html

Re: Solar Sail First Flight Test (May 2015)

Postby Marshall on May 29th, 2015, 7:47 pm 

We should be hearing more about this now. I understand the basic package is about the size of a loaf of bread and once in space it will spread out its mylar sail and catch sunlight as it orbits the Earth. It could gain energy and spiral out to a higher orbit, I guess.
I think I saw a news item that it had been launched and was operational. Is there a website where one can follow the experiment?

Re: Solar Sail First Flight Test (May 2015)

Postby Marshall on May 29th, 2015, 8:27 pm 

This article is informative:

It is part 3 of a series and the will supposedly be a part 4, written after we know how the 20 May 2015 launch went and how the craft is performing.

I read some expression of dissatisfaction that they could not hitch a ride on a launch that would take them really high enough for the solar sail to work well. their launch is only taking the craft up to something like 600 or 800 km altitude. The test will be "meaningful" but not ideal. I guess to get really good performance you have to start the sail out at an altitude where it does not spend a lot of its time in the Earth's shadow.

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