NASA says solar sail may have failed

Posted: Friday, December 17, 2010

KODIAK - An experiment on board the rocket sent into space from Kodiak last month is not responding to signals.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports NanoSail-D, a small solar sail, was supposed to unfurl Thursday from a satellite about the size of a bread loaf and coast into the atmosphere.

NASA announced it has lost contact with the satellite and that it may never have left the satellite carrying it.

The experiment was one of 19 launched.

NanoSail-D is designed to test technology that could be used for interstellar transportation and for carrying abandoned satellites out of Earth's orbit.

The satellite cost $250,000 - a fraction of the $120 million cost of the eight satellites carried on board a Minotaur IV rocket Nov. 19.

Deployed, the sail is about the size of a large family tent.

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