Media Advisory: 00-117

For Release: April 3, 2000

Attention: Early Morning
Thursday, April 6
6-10 a.m. EDT

10 Minute Windows--With B-Roll
Giant space sail could take spacecraft to
the stars
Humankind’s first venture beyond the
solar system may begin soon

A future NASA mission could take a spacecraft out of the solar
The interstellar probe would be the biggest, fastest spacecraft
Using thin reflective sails made of composite materials, it would
span 440 yards -- twice the diameter of the Louisiana
The spacecraft would use sunlight for propulsion and later
missions might use microwave beams or laser beams.
It would move fast -- 58 miles per second, more than 10 times
faster than the Space Shuttle’s orbit speed of 5 miles per second,
or New York to Los Angeles in 43 seconds.
The challenging, unprecedented 15-year journey could begin as
early as 2010.
Team members from the Marshall Space Flight Center and
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. are
working to make space sails a reality.

Les Johnson,
Project Manager
Interstellar Propulsion Research
Marshall Space Flight Center
Satellite Windows:
10 minutes
Satellite Coordinates:
GE-2, Transponder 9C,
85 degrees west longitude,
Frequency: 3880 MHz, audio: 6.8
Satellite Interview Information:
Lindsey Rawl, Producer
(256) 544-2228
Beeper (256) 544-1183 PIN 0025