U.S. Space Agency NASA plans next year to launch the most extensive in the history of the solar sail, the area of which 1.2 thousand square meters. m
The project is called Sunjammer, with the permission of the heirs of the well-known science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. That was the title of a story in 1964 about the regatta "solar yacht." Sail side length is almost 38 meters manufacture company L’Garde, which in 1996 sent the "inflatable" experimental antenna on the ISS.
In the current year it is expected that the project will be formally evaluated by NASA, and take a few ground tests. Pre-Launch is scheduled for the end of next year, the unit will orbit Falcon 9 - booster private organization SpaceX. Experts expect that he will be able to move away from our planet for three million square kilometers, or eight average distance from the Earth to the Moon.
Kapton material will sail - a polyimide film, which was developed and used by DuPont, for example, in flexible and astronaut suits electronics. The project will produce DuPont Kapton sheet with a thickness of five microns, so that the folded sail would weigh about 32 kg.
In addition, Sunjammer transports into space dust Gene Roddenberry, creator of "Star Trek" and his wife Majel, as well as some customers Celestis, a company that since 1997 has been memorial space flights.
NASA believes that the eco-friendly solar sail will be useful for the study of asteroids in the districts of the Earth and for the analysis of space weather, and in the future for interstellar travel. In the summer of 2010 the first "sailing" in the stories became a Japanese probe "Ikaros", and in the fall of that year, America launched its NanoSail-D device which sail area was 9.3 m. m