Japan Space Agency and th Planetary Society have Two Solar Sail Missions for 2010

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Lightsail, a project of The Planetary Society, will merge the ultra-light technology of nanosats with the ultra-large technology of solar sails setting a course to the stars.

IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun) is a solar sail which gathers sunlight as propulsion by means of a large sail. This solar powered sail craft will employ both photon propulsion and thin film solar power generation during its interplanetary cruise. IKAROS will be launched together with the Venus Climate Orbiter, ‘Akatsuki’ in fiscal 2010 by JAXA.

IKAROS’s membrane is square, with a diagonal distance of 20m. The destination of the IKAROS is not specific but will be flown toward the Venus.

“LightSail-1” will sail in a revolving orbit around the Earth by the end of 2010.

LightSail-1 is an ultra-light spacecraft with a mass of less than 5 kilograms. With a sail area of approximately 32 square meters, its goal is to fly in Earth orbit to demonstrate control the attitude and orbit and increase the velocity under sunlight pressure.

Solar Sail Simulation Video


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