Japanese Spacecraft Deploys First Ever Solar Sail
The unfurling of a Japanese solar sail, the first demonstration of a new space propulsion technology, went exactly according to plan.
According to JAXA's blog posts and photos from the event, the IKAROS spacecraft's sail appears to be in place. It's a big step in its attempt to travel driven only by sunlight.
"This is the first sail ever deployed in space, and if they succeed in using it for solar sail flight — it'll still be a few weeks before we know that — it'll be a milestone," said Louis Friedman, executive director of the Planetary Society, an organization dedicated to promoting space exploration, which is readying its own solar sailing mission.
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Japanese spacecraft deploys first ever solar sail
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