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spaceship of the future (1961)

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this image is from the april 21, 1961 issue of Life magazine, which is mostly about yuri gagarin's successful mission in space and what it meant for america. to pick up americans' spirits, Life ran a few illustrations of what our spaceships might look like one day. this is an example of a solar sail.

the caption reads, "like the wind, the sun is a source of power for travel. these huge solar sails made of thin alumunized plastic would be pushed through space by the steady, gentle force of light emanating from the sub. they could be rolled up in a ball for launching into solar orbit, then spread and set adrift with crews manning capsules fastened to each corner. rockets mounted on capsules would guide the sail by twisting and turning it so it could tack like a sailboat in the wind. here artist [robert] mccall shows a spaceship hovering nearby as one crew relieves another and other space-yachts race onward over the moon (left) and earth."

life magazine was still large format back then, so my scanner can't capture all of the image, which takes up two full pages.

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