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July 13, 2010

Japanese solar sail successfully rides sunlight

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An unmanned probe riding a solar sail through space has felt its first accelerating push from sunlight in a successful test of its novel propulsion system

"The small solar power sail demonstrator 'Ikaros,' which successfully deployed its solar sail, was confirmed to accelerate by [the] solar sail receiving solar pressure," JAXA officials said in a July 9 update. "This proved that the Ikaroshas generated the biggest acceleration through photon during interplanetary flight in history."


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