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Questions tagged [light-sail]

questions about spacecraft propelled by the reflection of light, either from the Sun, or an artificial source.

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Maximum size for a Ion thruster solar array

In other questions I have asked about using a solar sail to double as a reflective mirror to provide light to an ion engine. What would be the maximum size or surface area of a parabolic sail where ...
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How does lightsail 2 plan to raise its apogee

Lightsail 2 is supposed to be a demonstration flight for solar sail technology. They plan to demonstrate that they can raise the apogee of their satellite using only light pressure on their sail. But ...
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Could you track small particles in space and could you control their position with lasers or reflected light?

If you released a large amount of small but precise particles (the size of glitter or confetti) is space, between a group of cube sats. Could you track the particles with cameras and/or lasers? And ...
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Can light sails be stopped (after 20 years)? What will happen after the 20 years (after their journey)?

At that time will they be destroyed? Or can they come back? Or will we simply cut the laser power? And if we can make the size of the craft big enough so that a person can be on-board (without ...
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How will The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 Spacecraft's retroreflectors be used?

For more information and links on The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 and its corner cube retroreflectors, see the question Planetary Society's LightSail Spacecraft's corner cube reflectors; how large,...
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Planetary Society's LightSail Spacecraft's corner cube reflectors; how large, and corrected for aberration?

The Planetary Society's new 3U cubesat LightSail spacecraft (mentioned in this answer) has corner-cube retroreflectors on on the 10x10 cm +z end, facing directly away from the sail, which will be ...
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Why would “Breakthrough Starshot” need photon thrusters?

Found here (italics added, bold in source): Nanocrafts are gram-scale robotic spacecrafts comprising two main parts: StarChip: Moore’s law has allowed a dramatic decrease in the size of ...
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Solar sail and debris shielding

If a space craft is to travel at 0.6 c, how must one design a protection system such that any and all debris collisions with the sail do not render it damaged for further use? Is it possible to employ ...
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How long would it take for a light sail to make it to Proxima Centauri and what speed would it get to?

The new discovery of a small planet keeping Proxima Centauri company prompted my imagination into overtime. There are four parts to this: If we were to deploy a small probe on a light sail how long ...
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What are the benefits from using the Sun as a gravitational lens for beamed interstellar propulsion?

What would be gained from placing a powerplant with a photon beam canon and a light sail on opposite sides of the Sun, perfectly alligned, both at >550 AU from the Sun? That'swhere the lens starts, ...
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How will Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking's nanobots decelerate and transmit data upon arrival at Alpha Centauri?

Does anyone know what exactly is their plan, once they get there? How is that nano-thing going to slow down / take images / send data back to us? I couldn't find any information on this.