Re: SPACE: Is ISS a boondoggle?, was Re: SPACE: Why so muchEVA onISS?

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Wed Mar 21 2001 - 12:00:26 MST

Michael Lorrey <> writes:

> The experiment is not supposed to last very long. This is just a 'proof
> of concept' vehicle, to verify the amount of thrust generated for a
> given area and to test the sail deployment mechanism. A more permanent
> larger scale solar sail will launch later.

Hmm, the near Earth environment is rather messy with all that stray
atmosphere, plasma and fields. Wouldn't a solar sail behave a bit
oddly there due to confounding variables? For example, if it is
conductive it would act as a electric tether, and plasma streams might
give it extra push or resistance beside the obvious weak drag from the
atmosphere. Somehow I think they have taken this into account, but it
makes interpretation of the experiment much harder.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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