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Media Invited to See Solar Sail -- Developing Technology to Propel Spacecraft of Future -- At NASA Research Center April 27
Kim Newton
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
(Phone: 256.544.0034)

Sally Harrington
Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio
(Phone: 216433-2037)

Media Advisory: 05-053

What: The In-Space Propulsion Technology Project at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will host a Media Opportunity to showcase testing of a 20-meter solar sail system design. Solar sails use sunlight to propel a spacecraft through space. This continuous sunlight, reflecting off the giant, reflective sails, provides sufficient thrust to perform such maneuvers as hovering at a fixed point in space and rotating a craft's position in orbit.

The 20-meter tests are a critical milestone in the development of the unique propulsion technology that could lead to more ambitious inner Solar System robotic exploration. ATK Space Systems of Goleta, Calif., is conducting a series of tests in the Space Power Facility -- the world's largest space environment simulation chamber -- at NASA Glenn Research Center's Plum Brook facility in Sandusky, Ohio. Media are invited to view the solar sail hardware and interview managers of the project.

Who: On hand for interviews will be Les Johnson, manager of the In-Space Propulsion Technology Office at NASA's Marshall Center; Edward E. Montgomery, technology manager of Solar Sail Propulsion at Marshall; and Jerry Carek, manager of the Space Power Facility at Plum Brook.

When: Wednesday, April 27

Where: The Space Power Facility at NASA Glenn Research Center's Plum Brook Station

To attend: News media interested in covering the event should contact Glenn Research Center's Community and Media Relations Office at (216) 433-2037 no later than Monday, April 25, for security clearance and directions to Plum Brook's main gate. Media must report to the gate by 10:45 a.m. EDT and will be escorted to the Space Power Facility. Vehicles are subject to security search at the gate.

For supporting materials for this news release – such as photographs, fact sheets, video and audio files and more – please visit the NASA Marshall Center Newsroom Web site at: