Bill Nye Announces Solar Sail Is A Success
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39 years ago, Carl Sagan promoted an idea for solar powered spaceflight.
Bill Nye, CEO of the Planetary Society, announced on June 7th that the LightSail prototype‘s motor successfully deployed the craft’s mylar sail. It initially launched in May 20th, but the deployment procedure was delayed by a lapse in communication to mission control, only to then have a battery malfunction.
The Planetary Society hopes that future space travel may be powered by the sun, and the LightSail project is the mule designed to the feasibility of this aim.
The spacecraft itself is smaller than a loaf of bread but the sail extends to cover the same area of an entire apartment. While the film’s area may be extremely wide, the film that collects solar energy is thinner than a piece of hair.
With this test a success, Nye’s team plans to launch a second satellite. The subsequent launch launch will not only feature the deployment of a sail that will catch solar beams and use their force to propel the vessel forward.
The hope is that this will prove to be an efficient way to power solar travel not only for small satellites but also for larger manned spacecraft.
With a celebrity and friend of science such as Bill Nye at the helm of the project, the Planetary Society will continue to find financial backers as well as success in its future tests.
Source: Washington Post