Ryan J. Caverly

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Aerospace Engineering & Mechanics
College of Science & Engineering
Twin Cities

Award Year
2024
University Award
McKnight Land-Grant Professorship
Research Title
Solar Sailing: Harnessing the Sun for Space Propulsion

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Current spacecraft lifetimes are limited by their need to carry their own fuel. Ryan Caverly is developing robotic solar sail technology that uses photons from the Sun to propel spacecraft without fuel. This will enable unique and impactful long-duration space missions, such as an early warning system for solar flares that disrupt critical communication and power grids on Earth, as well as a solar shade system that cools the Earth and slows down climate change.