Statite

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A statite (a portmanteau of static and satellite) is a hypothetical type of artificial satellite that employs a solar sail to continuously modify its orbit in ways that gravity alone would not allow. Typically, a statite would use the solar sail to "hover" in a location that would not otherwise be available as a stable geosynchronous orbit. Statites have been proposed that would remain in fixed locations high over Earth's poles, using reflected sunlight to counteract the gravity pulling them down. Statites might also employ their sails to change the shape or velocity of more conventional orbits, depending upon the purpose of the particular statite.

The concept of the statite was invented by Robert L. Forward.[1] No statites have been deployed to date, as solar sail technology is still in its infancy.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ US patent 5183225, Robert L. Forward & Forward, "Statite: Spacecraft That Utilizes Light Pressure and Method of Use", issued 1993-02-02