Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Microsat News: NanoSail-D suddenly turns up

NanoSail-D, a Cubesat-based nanosatellite carrying a solar sail experiment, was written off after it failed to eject from NASA's FASTSAT after launch last month. Yesterday, it suddenly ejected. Engineers are unsure of what happened here, but are now hoping the experiment will "wake" and start sending data. Help is being sought from the global amateur radio community in the search for signals.
The NASA release says:
"The NanoSail-D science team is hopeful the nanosatellite is healthy and can complete its solar sail mission. After ejection, a timer within NanoSail-D begins a three-day countdown as the satellite orbits the Earth. Once the timer reaches zero, four booms will quickly deploy and the NanoSail-D sail will start to unfold to a 100-square-foot polymer sail. Within five seconds the sail fully unfurls."

COMMENT: Solar sail experiments are on a very unlucky streak. Fingers crossed.

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