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NASA will begin testing the new solar sails

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In the American Space Agency reported that in the next space launch SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket into the payloads will be switched on a new solar sail, which will be tested on the Earth's orbit.The thickness of one sail is about 1 / 30 the thickness of a human hair. The momentum that will be captured as a result of "strikes" photons will be broadcast spacecraft, which in turn will be able to develop speed. As scientists believe, with the help of solar sail ships will be able to develop faster than in the case of chemical fuel, thus, the prospect of interplanetary travel and study the most distant planets of the solar system becomes very real.To ensure that the spacecraft had received sufficient impetus required sail length of 80 to 160 meters, moreover, the size of the sails also depends on the mass of the ship. The prototype solar sails, to be put into orbit by means of Falcon 1, was named NanoSail-D, because the weight is less than 4.5 kilograms, consists of only 4 segments and has a surface area of about 4.5 meters, not counting the central hub area.In the future NanoSail-D should serve as sails for nanosatellites, created in the California Polytechnic Institute. These satellites will operate at altitudes from 330 to 685 km above the ground.In Space Center NASA Marshall reported that after the withdrawal into orbit NanoSail-D must be explored at least 14 days. Of course, solar sail still had a lot of tests, such as test at higher temperature, solar radiation test, vibration and others. Nonetheless, scientists are optimistic about the concept of new space engines.Separately worth noting that similar experiments conducted not only in NASA. In August 2004, Japanese researchers placed 2 prototype sails in space, and in September the same year on the basis of Russian missiles was made to place in orbit another 30 - meter prototype solar sails, which held in space for about two weeks, after which was burned in the entrance of the Earth's atmosphere.
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