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NASA’s Giant Solar Sail: The Sunjammer Mission

by Kenny Hoeschen

In late 2014, a sun-bound spaceship will launch and the largest solar sail ever created, the “Sunjammer,” will be deployed. It is the largest solar sail ever created, covering 1,200 square meters and likely also one of the largest structures ever deployed in space. The Sunjammer will be propelled through space by sunlight and it’s final destination is about 3 million kilometers away, a location known as Sun-Earth Lagrange Point 1.

The Sunjammer will be launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and the sail will be deployed after the vehicle is safely away from Earth. The Sunjammer will measure space weather, but the $27 million mission’s primary purpose is to prove the viability of the solar sail technology.

We’ll be following this mission closely. NASA also plans to provide a live video feed to the public, who can follow the launch and the unfurling of the solar sail.

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