News Home Video Gallery Newsletters Photo Gallery Cruising Int
Sail-World.com : Largest ever space sail for 2014 - it's the Sunjammer!
Largest ever space sail for 2014 - it's the Sunjammer!

'Solar sail - the largest ever'    .

It's not windjammer, it's Sunjammer! Humans learned long ago to push a craft across the water using the wind. Now the pace is picking up as space scientists learn how to push a craft through space using photons from the sun.

The largest solar sail ever constructed is headed for the launch pad in 2014 on a mission to demonstrate the value of what is being called 'propellantless propulsion'.

Dubbed Sunjammer, the giant solar sail measures about 124 feet (38 meters) on a side and boasts a total surface area of nearly 13,000 square feet (1,208 square m, or one-third of an acre). The project is under the wing of NASA's Space Technology Program, within the agency's Office of the Chief Technologist.

NASA has contracted with a team of high-tech 'solar sailors' at L'Garde Inc. of Tustin, Calif., to build Sunjammer.

L'Garde is no newcomer to novel space structures. The company has worked with the space agency on several projects, including the creation of inflatable structures for radio frequency antennas and solar arrays. In 1996, the company flew the Inflatable Antenna Experiment (IAE) aboard the space shuttle Endeavour's STS-77 mission.

Programmatic milestone:
'We took the name Sunjammer from an Arthur C. Clarke short story, a fictional yacht race in the heavens using solar sails,' said Nathan Barnes, L'Garde's chief operating officer and executive vice president, as well as Sunjammer's project manager. Permission to use the name came from the Clarke estate, he told SPACE.com.

Work on Sunjammer this year includes a programmatic milestone — a critical design review — along with a variety of ground demonstration tests and qualification of components, Barnes said. The flight of the solar sail, he said, is set for the end of 2014, to be sent spaceward atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

'With this sail, we’re targeting our end goal somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,864,114 miles (3 million kilometers) distance from the Earth,' Barnes said.

A number of test objectives are to be checked off within the first couple months of flight, he added. These include deployment of the sail, demonstration of vector control using sail-tipped vanes, navigation with accuracy and, finally, maintenance of the spacecraft's position at a gravitationally stable location called Earth-Sun Lagrange Point 1.

Sunjammer won't be the world's first solar sail mission, just the largest. NASA launched NanoSail-D, whose sail covered just 100 square feet (9.3 square m), in November 2010. And Japan's Ikaros probe deployed its solar sail in June 2010, becoming the first craft ever to cruise through space propelled only by sunlight.

Neat, clever, exotic orbits:
Sunjammer is potentially applicable to an advanced space weather warning system, which could provide more timely and accurate notice of solar flare activity.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is collaborating with NASA and L’Garde on the upcoming demonstration flight, which will cruise to a spot that provides an interesting view of the sun.

'It will be us flying to a place that a customer actually wants to fly a solar sail to,' Barnes said. 'There are neat, clever, exotic orbits you can do with the solar sail that would permit viewing different portions of the sun that we can’t normally.' [The Sun's Wrath: Worst Solar Storms in History]

One-quarter the size of a football field, Sunjammer will produce a whopping maximum thrust of approximately 0.01 newton, Barnes said — roughly equivalent to the weight of a sugar packet.

Thinner sail:
Kapton is the solar sail material of choice. The mission team worked with chemical company DuPont to produce a special layer of Kapton for Sunjammer just 5 microns thick.

'Thinner is always better,' Barnes said.

When collapsed, the Sunjammer solar sail is the size of a dishwasher and weighs just 70 pounds (32 kilograms).

There are a number of control techniques involved in successfully unfurling the sail, said Billy Derbes, L’Garde’s chief engineer for Sunjammer.

'The highest risk is in the deployment,' Derbes said. A camera attached to the sail will capture the unfurling process.

For space news apart from solar sailing, go to www.space.com


by Leonard David, Space.com/Sail-World Cruising

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=106221

11:20 PM Sat 2 Feb 2013GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


Related News Stories:

11 Dec 2012  World-first vibrating, underwater barnacle buster gets thumbs-up
02 Dec 2012  Solar: a curious resemblance to the Maltese Falcon
30 Nov 2012  Robotic sailing boat sets off across the Atlantic
14 Nov 2012  Deep Blue Electric Outboard by Torqeedo wins DAME Award
24 Oct 2012  'TimeZero Touch' a chart plotter winner with 'pinch and zoom'
10 Oct 2012  Ikaros's two year sail through space - still doing well
19 Sep 2012  Innovative sensors - a future use for cruising sailors?
04 Sep 2012  Rescue response - a step up in future
03 Sep 2012  GPS navigation on iPhone/iPad just got easier for sailing America
01 Aug 2012  Super Rope Cinch: a hundred applications on a boat
MORE STORIES ...






Cruising USA









Our new Cruising Editor editor remembers his first offshore adventure by David Schmidt, Sail-World Cruising Editor, Seattle, WA




World ARC 2014 reaches Australia by World Cruising Club,


Venezuelan Port Control lift recent port restrictions. by Caribbean Safety and Security Net,


Seismic survey ship operating north of Aruba and Curacao by Caribbean Safety and Security Net,


Predictwind helps you pick the best time to depart by Richard Gladwell Sail-World.com/nz,


















4.8 million Legos all at sea by Adam Clark Estes,






Dredging activity near corals can increase frequency of diseases by ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies,




Understanding the Ocean's role in Greenland Glacier melt by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI),




Three Defensive Docking Strategies for Sailors by Captain John Jamieson, Florida


Revealing report on Search for American yacht Nina released *Feature by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team,














Baby Nemos finding their way home
High Latitude Sailing - Book of the Week
Will the Olympics make a difference to Rio pollution? *Feature
Blue Planet Odyssey, around world rally, begins
Africa Europe Cruising Challenge now open for entries
The real ‘Supermoon’ story
Warm and noisy welcome for Oceans of Hope in La Rochelle
Sailor rescued after Facebook call for rescue
Solo sailing star's passion = busy environmental schedule
El Niño (Part 2). Effects on the Pacific Ocean
Northern Scotland: Voyage to Orkney and Shetland Isles (Part 1)
Northern Scotland: Voyage to Orkney and Shetland Isles, photos
The Galley Guys' favourite shrimp recipe
Vestas Sailrocket 3 - Over the Horizon
BoatUS speaks out about 'Ethanol-at-all-cost Agenda'
Tidal current installations will increase boating hazards
Eco-Sailboat of the future - Catherine Chabaud at work
Calling yachts in the South Pacific - rally to New Zealand
The final touch - which wax should I use on my boat?
ARC Baltic sets sail to discover Europe's 'east sea'
Another boom death. Australian sailor dies, hit by swinging boom   
Galley Guru vital to the life of the cruising sailor   
'Boat Handling in Marinas' by Rob Gibson - and how to get it reliably   
Heart-stopping moment as whale capsizes Zodiac   
If we stop killing parrotfish we can bring back Caribbean coral reefs   
Climate change could stop fish finding their friends   
Vanuatu ups their welcome to cruising sailors with new approach   
Criminal charges mooted for owners of sunk HMS Bounty   
Red faces after authorities inadvertently aid boat thief to get away   
Mobiles drive traffic - 72% increase in Sail-World.com page view *Feature   
Sail Estonia: a VERY new idea   
Tie This 'Lifesaving' Bowline in Seconds - the easy way!   
A Beer Bummel on the Thames River   
Online weather routing - possible? Predict Wind says yes   
Why Boats Sink: Ten best tips on prevention   
The North West Passage calls: Who will answer this year?   
Polish adventure sailor in second try at North West Passage   
Whale research - new techniques expand for non-lethal methods   
Jessica Watson, solo sailing star, four years on...   
Americas solo non-stop circumnavigator crosses Pacific for research   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW Cru USA
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT