Ed Driscoll

Solar Sailing

Glenn Reynolds (who was kind enough to link this post earlier today.) has been tracking over the past couple of days the first attempt at building a spacecraft that’s long been the dream of science fiction enthusiasts: a solar sailer:

In an effort to promote space exploration, a private group plans today to launch the first spacecraft to sail in Earth orbit on the solar wind.

If successful, the mission will provide scientific proof for a concept that has captivated science fiction for decades – that ships can travel great distances across the heavens under the power of giant solar sails nudged by the faint energy of light itself.

Glenn notes today that its had a successful launch. As he says, “So far, so good.”

For our look at earlier, slightly more brute force-style spacecraft, click here.

Update: The solar sailing mission may have entered its quagmire phase