The Initiative for Interstellar Studies are not just focussed on theoretical discussions about interstellar flight. We are also planning ground demonstrations of critical technologies and even a low Earth orbit (LEO) space mission demonstrator. Technical programmes Project Dragonfly and Project Glowworm are investigating laser sail propulsion technology to make humanity a spacefaring species.
Do you want to calculate, or build stuff or to get involved with space mission development? Then contact us! What are you waiting for?
Principal Investigator: Andreas Hein
The Initiative for Interstellar Studies has recently begun work on exciting plans for a CubeSat spacecraft mission that demonstrates the world’s first laser sail in space. This amazing first would demonstrate key technologies for a laser-propelled future interstellar mission: Pushing a gram-sized “ChipSat” with a laser beam in space. With this technology, it will be feasible to one day go to fractions of light speed. This will bring the stars within decades travel time of our reach.
We are looking for seed funding for a technology development program to support this mission. In particular, this program would include laser thrust measurements and developing a ChipSat with a solar/laser sail.
We need you to help us push humanity to the next frontier in the exploration of interstellar space. Many others are looking at backup plans for humanity in space (SpaceX, Breakthrough Initiative) but before this can happen we have to achieve the key technology breakthroughs to enable humanity to eventually become an interstellar species and improve our chances of survival.
Do You Have the Bold Vision to Help Engineer This Future?
The current plan is to aim for a launch in the 2020 time frame in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Sputnik 1 mission which kickstarted the space race. Our aspiration is to kickstart a new era of space exploration but with laser-sail technology and by demonstrating it is possible.
The probe we are developing fits onto the palm of your hand: The sail is the size of a credit card and the ChipSat deployed with it is 1 cm² in area, smaller than your thumbnail. Our plan is to deploy our sail system from a CubeSat, and then push it with a laser, and then capture it on film and video.
Along the way to the "Glowworm" laser sail mission, we will achieve several technological breakthroughs:
Goal 1: Smallest spacecraft ever launched into space to return a signal to Earth, to commemorate the Sputnik mission (Femto-Sputnik)
Goal 2: First ever successful solar sail ChipSat, world's smallest solar sail spacecraft
Goal 3: First ever successful demonstration of a laser sail in space (Glowworm)
What Will We Learn?
By conducting this exciting technology development program, we will gain vital knowledge for future deep space missions:
Development of a laser beam system for space
Gain first-hand experience of developing, testing, and ejecting a ChipSat with sail in space
First experience for targeting and propelling a laser sail in space
As a result, i4is would be able to put itself to the forefront of current laser propulsion and ChipSat research, and could increase its chance to participate in further, larger projects funded by other parties. This will be an important step towards our objective of achieving a mission to “foster technical capabilities that will enable the construction and launch of interstellar spacecraft.”
You will support and be involved with the development of a technology that is considered the key to enabling interstellar travel long-term and fast interplanetary transportation near-term that may determine the future of humanity in space.
You will enable the achievement of several inspirational “Firsts” that will go down in the history of spaceflight as achievements that changed the future trajectory of our species:
First laser sail mission
Smallest laser/solar sail spacecraft
Smallest spacecraft ever launched into space (1cm² ChipSat)
You will also receive one of several rewards as an affiliate team member.
We are very excited to gather your support for this visionary project that will take humanity to the stars! Once this project is completed, we plan to move forward towards a larger project called Project Dragonfly which will take our robotic probes to the edge of the Solar System and beyond.
Be a part of our team and make laser sail propulsion happen! Contact us.
You can make a donation here. If you wish your donation to remain anonymous, please let us know. We really appreciate your support.
Andreas M. Hein, Nikolaos Perakis, Zachary Burkhardt, David Evinshteyn. "Project Glowworm: Towards a Laser Sail Demonstrator". Poster for the 2nd Foundations of Interstellar Studies Workshop, 2019