Solar Sails/ NanoSail-D
NASA's Nanosail-D mission evaluates how spacecraft might be able to literally sail through space without fuel.

NASA's nanosatellite NanoSail-D is still slowly descending and continues to provide valuable data for de-orbit mechanisms for future satellites.

As of Aug. 31, the 100-square-foot sail has been unfurled for over 215 days and the satellite has lowered its altitude by over 135km (84 miles). Its rate of descent depends upon both the solar activity and its current orbital attitude (sail pointing direction).

This research demonstration could lead to further advances of this alternative solar sail propulsion and the critical need for new de-orbit technologies. This ejection experiment also demonstrates a spacecraft’s ability, like the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, or FASTSAT, to eject a nano-satellite from a micro-satellite, while avoiding re-contact with the primary satellite.

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