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'Space yacht' IKAROS takes images of its solar sail

The images taken by IKAROS. JAXA photos

TOKYO (BNS): Japan's solar spaceship IKAROS has successfully taken the images of its deployed solar sail from its separation camera, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced on Wednesday.

The space agency has released the images taken by IKAROS.

The kite shaped spacecraft which was launched last month, expanded its ultra-thin, flexible solar sail on June 10 and started sailing in space with solar power generation. The sail, which is only a fraction of the thickness of a human hair, is partly coated with thin-film solar cells to generate electricity.

JAXA said it will continue to measure the power generation status of the thin film solar cells attached to the sail, and will verify acceleration by the cells and orbit control by their acceleration.

IKAROS Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun is the world's first solar powered sail craft employing both photon propulsion and thin film solar power generation during its interplanetary cruise.



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