Starsailing: Solar Sails and Interstellar Travel

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9780471625933: Starsailing: Solar Sails and Interstellar Travel

Louis Friedman, Executive Director of the Planetary Society, presents the first comprehensive look at the science and history behind solar sailing and other designs for space travel. Serious science readers and space buffs alike will be fascinated by designs for the square sail, disk sail, and the heliogyro (which features flexible sails many kilometers long). Friedman compares solar sailing to other proposed propulsion sytems such as ion drives and laser propulsion, and takes an insider's look at the million-dollar JPL project of the late '70s, which was the first attempt at a working model. Illustrated.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Cofounder (with Carl Sagan and Bruce Murray) of the Planetary Society, Friedman spent 10 years working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he was involved in, among other projects, research on solar sailing. (Three times NASA has rejected the solar sail, which operates on sunlight pressure and uses no fuel.) Friedman describes how the sails work and outlines their history, beginning with the first scientific paper on the subject, written under a pseudonym by engineer Carl Wiley for a 1951 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. In nontechnical language, the author covers the physics of solar sailing, problems of solar navigation, the design and construction of solar sail spacecraft and its promise for the future: "Used as an interplanetary shuttle, the sail would enable us to collect samples on Mars and other planets on a continuing basis." The 72 illustrations include diagrams, paintings and photos. This visionary volume, one of an excellent series of lay science Wiley Science Edition books, is recommended to anyone interested in science.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Friedman, Executive Director of the Planetary Society, provides a slim but fascinating primer on the potential uses of solar sailslarge ultra-thin aluminum-coated plastic spacecraft that require only the pressure of sunlight for propulsion. He persuasively argues for using these exotic and economically promising alternatives to conventionally fueled rockets to transport heavy loads around the solar system in order to support manned and unmanned missions. His accounts of several privately funded research efforts pursuing solar sail technology in the face of bureaucratic lack of interest are noteworthy. Recommended. Thomas J. Frieling, Bainbridge Junior Coll. Lib., Ga.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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