Physicists to ‘boost’ satellite with microwaves

A California physicist will announce plans for the first known attempt to push a spacecraft into the Earth’s orbit with energy beamed up from the ground. The satellite will be called the Cosmos Sail, the first solar-sail craft to orbit Earth. The physics team developed the sail with researchers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Made from lightweight layers of aluminized mylar, the sail will allow a craft to be propelled from low orbit to high orbit and ultimately into interplanetary space, driven by microwave energy, similar to the way wind pushes a sailboat across the sea.

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