Max-Microwave Acceleration Experiment with Cosmos-1

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J. Benford; G. Benford; T. Kuiper (2006), JBIS, 59, 68-70

Refcode: 2006.59.68
Keywords: Beam driven sail, solar sail, Cosmos-1

Abstract:
The Planetary Society planned to launch Cosmos-1, the first solar sail in 2005. We planned an experiment to irradiate the sail with the Deep Space Network beam Goldstone Solar System Radar. This could demonstrate, for the first time, beamed propulsion of a sail in space. This can demonstrate, for the first time, beamed propulsion of a sail in space. The 450 kW microwave beam from the large 70-m dish can provide direct microwave beam acceleration of the sail by photon pressure. We can measure that acceleration by telemetry from on-board accelerometers. We planned to modulate the beam to excite resonant oscillatory modes of the sail, enhancing the signal-to-noise ratio. We discuss issues affecting this experiment: how to track the sail and put the beam on it, download the accelerometer data and analyze it.

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