NASA indicated that it will be testing a new Solar Sail system in order to assess its efficacy versus more conventional propellant thrusters, in moving smaller satellites. The solar sail design has a chance to act as a way to move space crafts in a more cost-effective way, especially for missions being conducted in deep space. This is because sail designs do not require any fuel, which can significantly increase the costs associated with a mission.
NASA’s mission is titled Advanced Composite Solar Sail System or ACS3, and the space agency will rely on NanoAvionics, a company from Illinois, to provide the spacecraft. The mission states that a small satellite will be taken into orbit with a solar sail, which measures in at 800 square feet.
Image Credit: NASA