Topic: Solar sail to launch on Falcon 1  (Read 1242 times)

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Offline Nemesis

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Solar sail to launch on Falcon 1
« on: June 28, 2008, 05:42:27 am »
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NASA said it means big things for space travel. According to Montgomery, the speed of the solar sail would make it feasible for a spacecraft to leave our solar system in a decade, instead of the 30 years it took for the Voyager missions to get to the edge the Milky Way. In theory, rockets would be used for short missions and sails would be used for longer missions.


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The NanoSail-D will travel to space onboard the SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket, launching from the Pacific Ocean as early as July 29. It will be brought on board in a 10-pound suitcase, and if successfully unfurled, it will measure at 100 square feet.
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Solar sail to launch on Falcon 1
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2008, 06:49:05 am »
There have been earlier non NASA attempts but each one has had "issues" with the launch vehicle failing.  Hopefully this one will deploy properly and demonstrate the validity of the concept.

Even if only a few small ones were made to collect and tow space junk into deorbitting it would be useful.  Larger ones might be able to hook on to meteors and tow them back to Earth orbit for collecting.  They could also make sample return missions more practical as the return package need only need to reach Mars (or whatever bodies) orbit then get picked up by a Sail to return it to Earth orbit.
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Offline marstone

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Re: Solar sail to launch on Falcon 1
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2008, 02:31:13 pm »
There have been earlier non NASA attempts but each one has had "issues" with the launch vehicle failing.  Hopefully this one will deploy properly and demonstrate the validity of the concept.

Even if only a few small ones were made to collect and tow space junk into deorbitting it would be useful.  Larger ones might be able to hook on to meteors and tow them back to Earth orbit for collecting.  They could also make sample return missions more practical as the return package need only need to reach Mars (or whatever bodies) orbit then get picked up by a Sail to return it to Earth orbit.

problem or using a sail to return to Earth orbit from mars, it uses the "wind" coming from the sun.  A sail cannot go directly into the wind, maybe if the shape is done and used like on a ship they could tack back and forth and move towards the Earth, but as the parachute style it would only move away from the sun. and other stars.

Have loved the concept tho, loved the Space ship Jolly Rodger from back in an '80 comic book.
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Solar sail to launch on Falcon 1
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2008, 07:14:44 pm »
problem or using a sail to return to Earth orbit from mars, it uses the "wind" coming from the sun.  A sail cannot go directly into the wind, maybe if the shape is done and used like on a ship they could tack back and forth and move towards the Earth, but as the parachute style it would only move away from the sun. and other stars.

Have loved the concept tho, loved the Space ship Jolly Rodger from back in an '80 comic book.


Actually you can come back. 

Imagine the orbital path is to the left on this line, tilt the Sail like this   \ and the sail (and cargo) will be decelerated and the orbit will be lowered. 

Given laser "cannons" that can be powered in a sustained fashion they sails can be driven to higher accelerations.

Wikipedia has an article on solar sails
« Last Edit: June 29, 2008, 07:26:11 pm by IKV Nemesis »
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Offline Age

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Re: Solar sail to launch on Falcon 1
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2008, 08:43:33 pm »
There have been earlier non NASA attempts but each one has had "issues" with the launch vehicle failing.  Hopefully this one will deploy properly and demonstrate the validity of the concept.

Even if only a few small ones were made to collect and tow space junk into deorbitting it would be useful.  Larger ones might be able to hook on to meteors and tow them back to Earth orbit for collecting.  They could also make sample return missions more practical as the return package need only need to reach Mars (or whatever bodies) orbit then get picked up by a Sail to return it to Earth orbit.

problem or using a sail to return to Earth orbit from mars, it uses the "wind" coming from the sun.  A sail cannot go directly into the wind, maybe if the shape is done and used like on a ship they could tack back and forth and move towards the Earth, but as the parachute style it would only move away from the sun. and other stars.

Have loved the concept tho, loved the Space ship Jolly Rodger from back in an '80 comic book.
That would be tacking going agiasnt the suns wind some as sailboat even the TallShips can do this.he reverse is jiving going into the wind.

Offline marstone

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Re: Solar sail to launch on Falcon 1
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2008, 10:10:15 pm »
There have been earlier non NASA attempts but each one has had "issues" with the launch vehicle failing.  Hopefully this one will deploy properly and demonstrate the validity of the concept.

Even if only a few small ones were made to collect and tow space junk into deorbitting it would be useful.  Larger ones might be able to hook on to meteors and tow them back to Earth orbit for collecting.  They could also make sample return missions more practical as the return package need only need to reach Mars (or whatever bodies) orbit then get picked up by a Sail to return it to Earth orbit.

problem or using a sail to return to Earth orbit from mars, it uses the "wind" coming from the sun.  A sail cannot go directly into the wind, maybe if the shape is done and used like on a ship they could tack back and forth and move towards the Earth, but as the parachute style it would only move away from the sun. and other stars.

Have loved the concept tho, loved the Space ship Jolly Rodger from back in an '80 comic book.
That would be tacking going agiasnt the suns wind some as sailboat even the TallShips can do this.he reverse is jiving going into the wind.

that is what I was thinking, but in rethinking it, tacking to go against the wind, needs the resistance of the water to help push you back against the wind, in space you don't have that resistance so it wouldn't work.  At least not in my small mind I can't grasp how it would work.
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Offline Tus-XC

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Re: Solar sail to launch on Falcon 1
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2008, 10:23:01 pm »
Nem is right.  orbitial mechanics dictates that if you deaccelerate you must drop into a lower orbit.  Whats is a fun idea to grasp is that you slow down to speed up and speed up to slow down... ;)
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