NASA signed a contract with the company NanoAvionics for the development of a panel of the future solar sails. It is created within the project Advanced Composite Solar Sail System (ACS3), which aims to test new experimental technology. If it is deemed successful, NASA will begin building a sailing system for interplanetary travel.

NASA provides a device (like CubeSat) to bring the system into space, here developed mechanisms drawing sails, rods made of composite materials and winches. In NanoAvionics needs to make a sail made of thin plastic to put on it the aluminum coating and to assemble the whole system. The maximum area of sail is 75 sq. m., folded, it will weigh only 5 kg.

For NASA ACS3 – experiment, an attempt to test the strengths and weaknesses of the concept. Any payload on the mission is assigned, the task ACS3 to successfully open up and maneuver in orbit by Ground command. Then, if the verdict is positive, has already built a sail area of over 500 square meters, which will be used for works in the near-space area. The timing of both activities in NASA have not yet reported.

By the way, noting the importance of the mission, NASA has even developed her memorial patch.

Source — NanoAvionics