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NASA ScienceCast: NanoSail-D

On Jan. 21, 2011, NanoSail-D unfurled a 10 m2 sail 650 km above Earth's surface, becoming the first solar sail to orbit our planet. For the next few months it will skim the top of the atmosphere, slowly descending in a test of 'drag sails' as a means of de-orbiting space junk. Meanwhile, sky watchers should be alert for flares. brilliant flashes of sunlight glinting off the flat antennas of Iridium communication satellites. Some Iridium flares are so bright, they can be seen in broad daylight. NanoSail-D could be even brighter.

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  • NASA ScienceCast: NanoSail-D (FLV, 5.79 MB)
    On Jan. 21st, NanoSail-D unfurled a 10 m2 sail 650 km above Earth's surface, becoming the first solar sail to orbit our planet.

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Last Updated: 28 Jun 2011