NASA has unveiled a new solar-power-powered, solar-orbiting spacecraft.
The Chinese spacecraft, named Dragon, is about 1,300 feet long and weighs almost 1,000 pounds.
Dragon is being built for the International Space Station and was named for the Chinese character for “sun” — 虽视.
Dragon is designed to fly at high altitudes, but its payload is not powered by solar panels.
It will be launched in 2021 and will then be towed by an orbiter to the International Date Line in the Atlantic Ocean.
The spacecraft will provide scientific and technical data to the ISS and be used by scientists to learn about how solar panels behave and function in the solar system, the space agency said.
The solar panels that are powering Dragon’s panels will be made by an Israeli company called SolarPower Technologies.
NASA has given the company a $50 million contract to provide panels and related hardware.
The solar panels are manufactured in Israel and are made of titanium and other materials.
The Dragon spacecraft is the first of a new class of solar- powered spacecraft.
These spacecrafts have solar panels and power from the sun that power their propulsion systems.
This new class includes a spacecraft that will carry astronauts to the space station, a spacecraft with a solar array that could help astronauts get to Mars and a spacecraft carrying a large amount of scientific data to NASA.NASA has said the solar-electric spacecrafts could make the space shuttle obsolete, but NASA says that this is a misconception.
The shuttle program is not obsolete, NASA says, but the program’s capabilities have been greatly increased by advances in space propulsion and spacecraft design.
The space shuttle was retired in 2011.
NASA’s next big mission is to launch astronauts to Mars, which will require an increased reliance on space travel.