Cornell light sail to deploy on International Space Station

A light sail that could one day propel small spacecraft through interstellar realms is headed to the International Space Station and will be tested by astronauts on behalf of Cornell’s Space Systems Design Studio.

Much like a sailboat harnesses wind to travel across an ocean, light sails use the momentum of sunlight to travel through space. The “Sailing to the Stars” project is Cornell’s unique version of a light sail that includes a poster-size sheet of microprismatic retroreflective film equipped with “ChipSat” spacecraft – miniature satellites that weigh only 2.5 grams and can transmit data to Earth. The size of the sail, combined with its shape-memory alloy frame, allows it to fold inside a small deployer that can eject the sail, with the goal of sending it on a journey to nearby planets and, possibly one day, another star system.

Read the full Cornell Chronicle article here.

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