Hinterland Green

Monday, May 3, 2010

Japan to Launch World's First Solar-Powered Spaceship, Ikaros, on May 18

Japan will launch the world's first solar-powered spaceship on May 18, 2010. The spacecraft, dubbed Ikaros, will be the first in history to enter deep space using only solar energy. The ship is equipped with 15-meter long ultra thin wings that are covered with special cells which will generate energy from the sun. If successful, the Ikaros, which stands for "Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun," will be the first spacecraft to use solar sails in space as a primary propulsion mechanism.
A ground control station on Earth will navigate the panels of the Japanese invention in the direction of the sun rays. The spacecraft will launch Japan's first satellite to Venus.

Ikaros is also a reference to the Greek myth of Icarus – a young man and his father Daedalus, who attempted to escape exile in Crete by building wings of feathers and wax.
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