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NASA lost in orbit a nano-satellite with the solar sail.. / December 15, 2010 /

NASA lost contact with so-called nano-satellites NanoSail-D, equipped with a solar sail. While experts do not know what went wrong, reports the portal ScienceNOW.

It was reported that the device was thrown into an orbit with another satellite FASTSAT (Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite — Quick and accessibility of scientific and technological satellite) on December 6. December 9 NanoSail-D was supposed to transmit a signal to Earth on the deployment of the sails, but this did not happen.

As NASA considered three possible versions of what happened. The first assumes that the battery capacity NanoSail-D was not sufficient for work in orbit at very low temperatures. Under the second option, the device has not been thrown into orbit despite a ringing signal to Earth. The third version is that NanoSail-D could not deploy its sail.

The NanoSail-D is a prototype low-budget satellite, which, theoretically, could be used by space agencies. The size of nano-satellite is comparable to the size of a loaf of bread, and the area of its solar sail is about ten square meters. In addition NanoSail-D «mother" satellite FASTSAT has five devices (also low-budget) that are functioning normally.

If emissions NanoSail-D is still a success, the unit will be the first satellite launched by NASA in orbit with another satellite. It is assumed that in the future, this technology is flown for small devices can be used quite widely.

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