Sunjammer, NASA's codename for the largest solar sail ever constructed, should leave the launch pad in 2014 and head into space to demonstrate "propellant-less propulsion."
The giant solar sail measures about 124 feet per side and boast a whopping total surface area of nearly 13,000 square feet. The project is being contracted by L'Garde Inc., and is being supervised under NASA's Space Technology Program within the agency's Office of the Chief Technologist.
Sunjammer will launch into space on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and will be testing several of the technologies features in the following months. These include successful deployment of the sails, vector control of the sail-tipped vanes, navigational accuracy, and ease of maintenance at a gravitationally stable orbit location of Earth-Sun Lagrange Point 1, which lies about 200,000 miles from the Earth's surface.