Please select your home edition
Edition
Jeanneau AUS SO440 LEADERBOARD

Ikaros's two year sail through space - still doing well

by Sail-World Cruising on 10 Oct 2012
Ikaros takes self photo SW
Sailing was the original way to get around the world's oceans without manpower - by harnessing the power of the wind. With the advent of steam and oil, sailing was thought 'old hat' for a while, merely for leisure sailors and historians. However, modern Japanese scientists at JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) have gone back to sailing to transit through space, and the little sailing craft, called Ikaros, is doing well!

Ikaros, which stands for Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun is an experimental spacecraft which was launched 21 May, 2010 by a rocket. It is is the first spacecraft to unfurl a sail, which is driven by sunshine photons, and successfully demonstrate solar-sail technology in interplanetary space. It even knows how to tack, when the 'wind' is coming from the wrong direction!

Since then it has had a number of adventures:

* On December 8, 2010, IKAROS passed by Venus at about 80,800 km distance, completing the planned mission successfully, and entered its extended operation phase.

* Then, the IKAROS was scheduled - and confirmed - to have shifted itself into hibernation mode (or shutting down its onboard equipment due to low power generation) sometime before Jan. 6, 2012.

After moving into hibernation mode, the IKAROS team has been searching for the IKAROS twice a month.

* Excitingly, on 6 September, 2012, a radio wave that appeared to be emitted from the IKAROS was detected. Two days later this was confirmed that Ikaros had successfully come out of hibernation mode.

* Now the little craft has done something REALLY clever. It has jettisoned a camera to take a picture of itself, which it has just sent back to earth.

...and this is the photo, shown above, taken over two years after it started its journey. If you're young enough, you might just live long enough to go for a sail in space!
BandG AUS Triton2 FOOTERX-Yachts AUS X4 - 660 - 1Boat Books Australia FOOTER

Related Articles

Golden Globe Race, day 16
Péché and Slats slug it out at the front, Farebrother pulls out of the Race French leader Philippe Péché and his Rustler 36 PRB is being pushed hard by Dutch rival Mark Slats (Ophen Maverick) as the Golden Globe Race fleet enjoy glorious trade wind conditions on the run south towards the Cape Verde Islands.
Posted today at 12:49 pm
Tornado World Championship overall
Another impressive performance from Iordanis Paschalidis AP went down and the Tornado fleets started perfectly aligned with 10-12 knots of winds for the 8th race of the day. AUT 3 started at full speed close to the Race Committee boat and rounded the first mark ahead of GRE 1.
Posted today at 10:53 am
Medalists return for shot at Youth Sailing Worlds
Youth Sailing Worlds is a pinnacle event for young sailors The 48th annual Youth Sailing World Championships begins Monday with 382 youth sailors, aged 16 to 19, from 66 nations racing on Corpus Christi Bay in Texas, USA.
Posted today at 9:30 am
Basic Rope Maintenance
Salt water and dirt shortens a rope's lifespan Salt water and dirt tears away at the fibres of the rope, shortening their lifespan. 'Salty ropes' are damp, thus collect more dirt. Ropes aren't cheap. Proper maintenance ensures you get the most out of your ropes.
Posted today at 8:28 am
Multihull Solutions Phuket Regatta overall
Another good day of sailing for the event conclusion The 10th annual Multihull Solutions Regatta wrapped up with another good day of sailing. Principal Race Officer Simon James ran two races, a three-lap windward-leeward and then a triangle course for all classes except Cruising.
Posted today at 8:16 am
48th Youth Sailing Worlds officially open
Youth Sailing World Championship officially open With the words, "By hoisting the flag I declare the Championship formally open!" American Cory Sertl, the Chair of the World Sailing's Youth Events Sub-committee, officially opened the 48th annual Youth Sailing World Championship.
Posted today at 7:58 am
The Hague Offshore World Championship day 1
Offshore race off to light start The sun continued to shine on Sunday at the start of racing in The Hague Offshore Sailing World Championship, with many thousands of beachgoers watching nearly a thousand sailors on their boats in the fleet start the long offshore race portion.
Posted today at 7:42 am
Optimist US Nationals at Pensacola day 1
Tired Opti sailors happy with four sets of races 2018 Regatta Chairman Tom Pace, Jr circled the fleet at the helm of his 38' Jupiter as the sailors rolled through the second set, he states, "This is probably about the best first day you could have for a regatta.
Posted today at 5:48 am
On track for all-time record entries
At 30th anniversary Airlie Beach Race Week Just over two weeks out from the Close of Entries, the 30th anniversary Airlie Beach Race Week is heading for the record books with more entries received to-date than ever before and edging closer to the all-time record of 133 in 2016.
Posted today at 5:05 am
Flying the flag
Over 50 years later, the Kangaroo Route lives on… Over 50 years later, the Kangaroo Route lives on… You don't have to go too far abroad now to run into another Aussie. Equally, when you're off the beaten track, and assuming you can find one anymore...
Posted on 15 Jul