Breakthrough Starshot held an ‘industry day’ on Wednesday May 23rd devoted to its lightsail project to take nanocraft to another star, framing the release of a Request for Proposals during its early concepts and analysis phase. The RFP focuses on the sail itself, investigating sail materials and stability under thrust. Step A proposals are due June 22, step B proposals on July 10, with finalists to be notified and contracts awarded this summer. The intent of the RFP is laid out in documents and slides from the meeting that Breakthrough has now placed online.
From the RFP itself:
The scope of this RFP addresses the Technology Development phase – to explore LightSail concepts, materials, fabrication and measurement methods, with accompanying analysis and simulation that creates advances toward a viable path to a scalable and ultimately deployable LightSail.
We’ve been talking about Breakthrough Starshot in these pages for a long time, as a search through the archives will reveal. The intention is to send gram-scale probes commonly referred to as ‘starchips’ attached to sails on the scale of meters to a nearby star to investigate its planets, with the highly interesting Proxima Centauri b an obvious target given that it is ...