1063

NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System successfully deployed thanks to Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket

Yesterday, Rocket Lab successfully deployed two satellites on the same launch while they were more than 500km apart in the context of a mission called the “Beginning Of The Swarm” (B.T.S.). Among them was NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System.

NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System successfully deployed thanks to Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket
READING TIME

1 minute, 0 secondes

The B.T.S. mission launched on April, 23rd, which is April 24th in New Zealand. The complex it lifted off from is located in that country, more precisely in Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Mahia.

The first satellite deployed in the context of the B.T.S. mission was for the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and contained the payload NEONSAT-1. It aims at observing the Korean Peninsula to contribute to the monitoring of natural disasters in the region. It was deployed to a 520km circular Earth orbit.

The second satellite deployed by Rocket Lab was NASA’s CubeSat, hosting its Advanced Composite Solar Sail System. The purpose of this mission is to test the system, which uses the pressure of sunlight to propel the satellite. To be able to propel it efficiently, the sail (which is about the size of a toaster) has to be properly unfurled from the spacecraft to an area about the size of a small apartment. This proper unfurling is what the mission aims to test. CubeSat will be deployed about 600 miles above Earth. It has to be high enough for the power of sunlight on the sail to be able to overcome atmospheric drag and go higher. CubeSat will fly for about two months before deploying its solar sail. The data collected during the B.T.S. mission will be used to develop future, larger composite solar sail systems.

Cover photo: This artist’s concept shows the Advanced Composite Solar Sail System spacecraft sailing in space using the energy of the Sun. Credit: NASA/Aero Animation/Ben Schweighart

More information www.rocketlabusa.com