[extropy-chat] question re solar sails

Adrian Tymes wingcat at pacbell.net
Tue Aug 17 21:24:25 UTC 2004

--- Jeff Davis <jrd1415 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> "Both deployments were successful and the rocket
> splashed into the sea at about six minutes 40
> seconds
> after lift-off."
> This leaves me with the impression that the rocket
> did
> not reach orbital velocity.  So I'm wondering, did
> the
> solar sails also fall back to earth, and if not, why
> not?

The deployments were successful.  That means the
mechanism to put the sails out there succeeded.  You
might think that's an insanely small step, but it one
has to make sure one can put these things out there
with them snagging or breaking before one can actually
test to see if the sails work, no?

The sails themselves were almost inconsequential to
the test.  One could almost have used cloth or the
like, save for concerns that cloth might not act the
same way as whatever they're using as sail material,
which would have made this test pointless.

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