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The Swan nanosatellite will be sent to space on a solar sail



The Russian Swan nanosatellite may be the first spacecraft to leave Earth orbit with the help of a solar sail. A satellite flight model can be presented in three years, after which a test flight will follow.

It is planned to use the equipment for research missions, which will become cheaper due to the rejection of the use of heavy marching engines - this will reduce the total weight of the domestic probe. The main difference between Swan and foreign developments is the unique rotor design of the two-bladed sail, which allows to increase its area tenfold.

As the senior teacher of MSTU. Bauman Alexander Popov, a two-bladed rotor sail, patented by the university, will be installed on the Swan, the deployment of which does not require a skeleton.

“Thanks to this, we expect to increase its area tenfold with the same weight of the structure,” said the scientist.

According to Popov, the new device will be delivered by a booster rocket into orbit at an altitude of 1 thousand km. Then he will begin a controlled rotation initiated by shunting electrothermal motors - resistor jets (they will receive the necessary energy from solar panels). In this case, due to centrifugal force, two sails with a one-sided reflective coating will be launched from special cylinders on both sides of the satellite. Their total length will be about 320 m.

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