By John SchmitzPublished August 16, 2016 04:03:51A new solar sail, one of the first in its class, was launched aboard the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on Tuesday.
The mission was one of three launches on the company’s new Delta IV Heavy rocket, which is also under development and has the capacity to launch a satellite or two.
The rocket flew for a few minutes and was then launched back to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, where it touched down on the rocket’s launch pad, according to NASA.
It’s a bit of a surprise, but the company didn’t announce its plans to use the solar sail until Thursday, when it released a press release announcing that the company had launched a prototype of the solar sails and was looking to see if it could do the same.
The company is now working with a variety of companies to try to develop a commercially viable solar sail that could fly in space.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Colorado in Boulder are leading efforts to build the sail.
In its press release, NASA said the prototype of solar sail “successfully performed its flight, demonstrating that it can be used to propel satellites into orbit.”
The company says the sail can reach a maximum lift of about 1,600 pounds, which could be enough to carry a satellite to orbit.
The solar sail’s design is based on an existing design developed by Boeing and the European Space Agency, according a company blog post.
It uses a solar array that is attached to the top of the rocket.
The concept also involves an array of lightweight, fiberglass-reinforced plastic panels, and is designed to be able to withstand up to a million pounds of force when flying at high speeds.
That’s more than enough to take out a vehicle in a direct hit, NASA noted.
The NASA press release didn’t specify when the first prototype of this prototype would be ready for use, but it’s not known when that would be.NASA and the United States military are working on the solar space program, including a proposal for a commercial launch vehicle.