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Space Transportation Science

Japan To Launch Solar Sail Spacecraft "Ikaros" 138 138

separsons writes "On May 18th, Japan's Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will launch Ikaros, a fuel-free spacecraft that relies completely on solar power. The spacecraft's 46-foot-wide sails are thinner than a human hair and lined with thin-film solar panels. After a rocket brings the craft to space, mission controllers on the ground will steer Ikaros by adjusting the sails' angles, ensuring optimal radiation is hitting the solar cells. If the mission proves successful, the $16M spacecraft will be the first solar sail-powered craft to enter deep space."
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Japan To Launch Solar Sail Spacecraft "Ikaros"

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This is clearly another case of too many mad scientists, and not enough hunchbacks.

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