Light Sail Spacecraft again makes contact with earth




Light Sail, an ambitious project to propel spacecraft like a sailboat, made contact again. Shortly after the launch of the satellite ran the computer fixed, but a spontaneous reboot fixed them.

The Planetary Society, a non-profit organization founded by the renowned astronomer Carl Sagan states that the signals received from Light Sail. That comes to an end two days of uncertainty. There was radio silence for a while because the computer of Light Sail unresponsive by a software error. Since the system could not be reset from Earth was hoping for a spontaneous reboot. Thus finally came.

Light Sail was launched on 20 May. Main objective of the mission is to discover whether the sail properly closing. Whether that works is not yet certain, as The Planetary Society, this has not yet tried. First of all, there must be a software update to be applied, after which at a given time it will be decided to expand the sail. There is no deadline yet given how this should happen.

The sail is about 32 meters diagonally and must absorb photons from the sun. As the particles hit the sail is created a minimal pressure and the spacecraft can be propelled. This concept seems a sailboat that is propelled by the wind.

For next year is also a test mission in the program, and if successful, a number of missions are planned. If there actually be sent a spacecraft on the road with such a solar sail is still unclear. The current test satellite is still in orbit around the Earth.

In 2005, The Planetary Society attempted, where Bill Nye “The Science Guy” now is the head, even once to launch a satellite. The Russian rocket that had managed care, however, not to get into an orbit for launch. NASA also tried his NanoSail-D project a solar sail in orbit around the Earth get: the first time it went wrong, but the second launch was successful. NASA and The Planetary Society have now joined forces.

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