solar sail about to be launched by Japan?

From: Ed Cannon (
Date: Mon Feb 20 2006 - 21:40:04 EST

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    On a page about Japan's imminent launch of ASTRO-F (an infrared
    astronomy mission which "will be placed in a sun-synchronous
    polar orbit of 745 km"), there is mention of the deployment of
    the launch vehicle's second subsatellite, a solar sail (20 meters
    in width is mentioned on a discussion board on, which
    is to be deployed 1100 seconds after liftoff:
    This page has images of the solar sail that they deployed on a
    suborbital launch in August 2004:
    This one has some images of a 4-meter solar sail deployed from a
    balloon in 2003:
    Assuming that the solar sail's sun-synch orbit will give any of
    us a chance to observe it, it might be something to see!
    Ed Cannon - Austin, Texas, USA
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