Sunjammer solar sail gets the chop from NASA

by | Oct 20, 2014 | NASA, Satellites, Science, Seradata News | 0 comments

The Sunjammer solar sail mission has effectively been cancelled after NASA withdrew its funding.  The Kapton 38 x 38m solar sail was being built under NASA Space Technology Programme (STP). by L’Garde of Tustin, California.  It had been due to be launched in early 2015 as a co-payload to the DSCOVR – Deep Space Climate Observatory mission on a Falcon 9 launch to the L1 Lagrange Sun-Earth position.  From there Sunjammer would use the sun’s photon pressure as its propulsion system.

However, an integration design problem meant that Sunjammer was unlikely to be ready in time, leading to the decision to suspend work on the project.  L’Garde is laying of 16 members of its 35 strong workforce as a result.  With no other launch going to a suitable location in the near future, NASA desided to pull the plug on funding.  NASA has, to date, spent US$21 million.

The news is also a blow to the UK space effort as the craft was due to carry two UK-built instruments: the Solar Wind Analyser (SWAN) developed by the Mullard Space Science Laboratory of University College London, and the MAGIC magnetometer developed by the Blackett Laboratory of Imperial College.  Scientist’s hoped to use the instruments to work out a better method of giving warning of solar/geomagnetic storms.

Comment by David Todd:  This is precisely the sort of innovative low cost science mission that the UK Government, via its UK Space Agency, should step in and rescue.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Cosmos 2555 appears to be a dead duck after its Angara 1.2 launch

The Cosmos 2555 (Kosmos 2555) Russian military codenamed satellite, which was launched from Plesetsk on 29 April by an Angara Read more

Upgraded version of Hyperbola 1 (SQX-1) rocket fails losing another Jilin-1 Mofang-1A observation satellite (Updated)

The launch of the Jilin-1 Mofang-1A (R) Earth Observation satellite by an upgraded version of the four stage Hyperbola 1/SQX-1 Read more

Satellogic secures launches for 68 further satellites in second multilaunch agreement with SpaceX

On 4 May South American newspace company Satellogic announced a new contract with SpaceX to launch 68 of its Earth Read more

French satellite operator Prométhée picks NanoAvionics to build its first nanosatellite

Paris-based satellite operator Prométhée have instructed mission integrator NanoAvionics to construct its first nanosatellite, as the French start-up begins progress Read more

Japanese iQPS contracts for launch of its fifth SAR satellite with Virgin Orbit

Japanese newspace company, iQPS Inc, has contracted with American launch provider Virgin Orbit for the launch of its fifth satellite. Read more

SpaceX launches first of many planned Starlink launches in May

At 0942 GMT on 6 May a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida carrying 53 Read more

Eight more Earth Observation satellites launched for Chinese Jilin-1 constellation

A Long March-2D (CZ-2D) rocket launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, Northern China, at 0238 GMT on 5 May. Read more

Arabsat orders Arabsat-7A software-defined satellite from Thales Alenia Space

Riyadh-based fleet operator Arabsat has ordered the construction of Arabsat-7A, its first fully flexible Software-Defined Satellite (SDS), after signing a Read more

Categories

Archives

Tags

nasaspacexecoreviewsissesaArianespacevideochina25virgin galacticULAfalcon 9RoscosmosDGAaviation weekaresIGTsoyuzawardsBeidouspacespacewalkSatellite broadcastingmoonInternational Space StationevarussiaCargo Return VehicleBlue OriginmarsblogresearchboeingimpactAirbus DSspaceshiptwomarshyperboladelayjaxademocratISROobamaorionhypertextrocketgoogle lunar prizelunarVegalaunchtourismbarack obamaconstellationStarlinkfiguresEutelsatnorthRocket LabSESFalcon 9v1.2FT Block 5spaceflightnode 2fundedOneWebRaymond Lygorome2009Express MD-2Atlas Vthales alenia spacess2dassault aviation2008Lucywk2aviationElon MuskLockheed MartinIntelsatradioukexplorationtestmissiledocking portsstlinternetsuborbitalChina Manned Space Engineeringsts-1222010newspapercotsgalileoAriane 5flightmissile defensespaceportspace tourismExpress AMU 1Ariane 5 ECAaltairbuildspace stationProton MSLSshuttleIntelsat 23scaled compositesVirgin OrbitCosmosinternational astronautical congressEuropean Space AgencyrulesElectronbudgetnew yorkhanleyLauncherOneshenzhouspace shuttleatvVietnamboldenAriane 6congressMojaveGuiana Space CenterOrbital ATKNorthrop GrummaniackscSpace Systems/LoralUK Space AgencylawscnesUS Air ForceInmarsatILSprotonnew shepardsoyuz 2-1aTalulah RileyLong March 4CApollousadarpaSkyloneuAstriumastronautlanderLong March 4BpicturebasedragoneventLong March 2CSSLfiveWednesdayAprilinterviewSea Launchlunar landerfalconSNC50thlink7successorcustomeratlantisSpace InsuranceLong March 2D/2conferencenational space symposiumorbiterTelesat15