RE: Japanese Solar Sail

From: Stephan Szyman (
Date: Thu Mar 02 2006 - 06:15:02 EST

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    hi mr. holtkamp
    I have been looking at the website for the ALOS project,
    I see nothing which indicates a test of a solar sail. I think what was meant 
    by the person who wrote the text for the website was "solar panel."
    I noticed as I read the front page that there are several grammar or 
    vocabulary errors.  however, I'm not going to rip on the person who wrote 
    it, as my japanese vocabulary is hardly 10 words.
    I too am greatly interested in the potential of solar sails. technically, 
    you could say the solar panel also acts as a solar sail (in fact during the 
    mercury mariner mission of '74/'75, pressure from solar winds on similar 
    panels was used to aid in maintaining the craft's attitude, sparing  
    precious propellant from being spent on that task, perhaps the first true 
    use of the solar wind during a spaceflight.)  I look forward with great 
    anticipation to the next attempt at "proving" this concept for propulsion.  
    what interests me even more than a solid "sail" is the M2P2 concept, also 
    called mini-magnetospheric propulsion.  why it hasn't been attempted yet 
    during a spaceflight is beyond me.
    for those of you who are especially free of meaningful tasks, there is a 
    really cool little 1/72nd scale printable model of ALOS on the site!  click 
    where it says "papercraft."
    clear skies!
    stephan szyman
    chicago IL USA
    41.6840N, 87.7000W; 188 msl
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