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Solar sailing using advanced diffractive films

A new and exciting era of space flight is emerging. Fledgling solar sailing missions are demonstrating that free and abundant solar radiation pressure allows missions that are not practical with chemical rockets. The development of advanced diffractive materials provides opportunities to achieve highly efficient sailcraft that are tailored to specific mission objectives. The principles of diffractive solar sailing will be discussed, along with a vision of the pressing need for metamaterial andphotonics research in this area.