NASA NIAC Phase 2- Extreme Solar Sailing

Solar sails allow a low cost pathway to high speed and ubiquitous exploration of the outer solar system and interstellar space. A slingshot maneuver ~2-5 solar radii distant from the sun can propel light-weight cubesat class spacecraft to near-relativistic speeds. They can reach 0.1% of the speed of light (over 300 km/s or restated as …

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Progress to Ultralight 16 Square Meter Nanocrystal Solar Sails for Breakthrough Starshot

Breakthrough Starship wants to use a 100 Gigawatt laser array to push an ultralight 4 meter X 4 meter nanocrystal solar sail. StarChip is the name used by Breakthrough Initiatives for a very small, centimeter-sized, gram-scale, interstellar spacecraft envisioned for the Breakthrough Starshot program. The light sail is envisioned to be no larger than 4 …

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Ceramic Metamaterial Solar Sails Could Enable 300 Kilometers per Second

Extreme metamaterial solar sails as proposed here have the potential to shift the paradigm of space exploration enabling numerous low cost and high-speed missions to be launched anytime and anywhere. Such sails could gain accelerations over 60AU/yr when coupled to low mass spacecraft and dive to extreme proximity to the sun (just 2-5 solar radii). …

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Latest Progress Towards Laser Pushed Solar Sails

Philip Lubin has led a team at UCSB to create laser arrays for propulsion and asteroid deflection. He has received NASA and Starshot funding. There have 100 students in his programs. They have created hardware components and performed various experiments. The DE-STAR (Directed Energy System for Targeting of Asteroids and ExploRation) has several sizes. DE-STAR-1 …

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A SpaceCraft Could Get to 430,000 Miles From the Sun Using Proposed Coating

In 2018 the Parker Solar Probe launched and plans to approach the Sun to within 8.5 solar radii (4 million miles) of its surface. This is seven times closer than any previous mission. Researchers think a new coating could allow spacecraft to get close as one solar radii (430,000 miles) from the Sun’s surface. This …

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Improved Solar Sail

The conventional means of collecting and redirecting solar sail light uses a metal-coated polyimide film but this is sub-optimal and unstable because the very large and very thin sail must be rapidly slewed away from the sun line for navigational purposes. Stability rigging and attitude control devices add mass to the sailcraft, thereby reducing the …

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Breakthrough Interstellar Starshot Cost and Engineering System Model

Arxiv – Breakthrough Starshot is an initiative to prove ultra-fast light-driven nanocrafts, and lay the foundations for a first launch to Alpha Centauri within the next generation. Along the way, the project could generate important supplementary benefits to solar system exploration. A number of hard engineering challenges remain to be solved before these missions can …

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Updated analysis for laser sail mission to Alpha Centauri

There is a 49-page report that has updated analysis on sending a small probe towards the Alpha Centauri system in a 50 year total mission time traveling at an average cruise velocity of 10% of light speed. The Andromeda Study: A FemtoSpacecraft Mission to Alpha Centauri Andreas M. Hein, Kelvin F. Long, Dan Fries, Nikolaos …

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