A Bajoran lightship with solar sails

For sails designed to catch tachyons, please see tachyon solar sail.

A solar sail was a structure that formed a method of propulsion based on the reflection of photons.

Bajoran lightships were equipped with solar sails which could be individually ejected in the event of an emergency. It was discovered that these sails also made them capable of faster-than-light speeds and interstellar travel due to the presence of tachyon eddies in the Bajoran system. The Bajorans used solar sails as early as the 16th century, and continued to do so until as late as the 21st century. (DS9: "Explorers", "Accession")

During the Whale Probe crisis of 2286, the chief engineer of the USS Yorktown attempted to use a makeshift solar sail to focus and absorb radiation from a nearby sun, with the hopes of generating power to keep life support systems online. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

It appears that solar sail technology utilized by Starfleet had advanced to a point where the sails could be used as an energy source and not just for propulsion.

In 2371, Benjamin Sisko built a lightship that employed a solar sail for propulsion after a visit to Bajor, and took it out into space with his son, Jake, as a traveling companion. (DS9: "Explorers", "Accession")

In its deployed form, the Son'a collector appeared to have a structure similar in appearance to solar sails though they operated in a different manner. (Star Trek: Insurrection)


Background information

For background information specific to the development of the Bajoran lightship, see Bajoran lightship.


The Risian luxury cruiser with solar sails deployed in Star Trek Online

The Star Trek: New Frontier novel After the Fall reveals the Romulan Spectre-class ships (β) use an ion glide solar sail for covert propulsion.

In The Rings of Time, Shaun Christopher (β) recalls in the year 2020, that solar sails were used aboard some of Earth's satellites to help maintain their orbit.

In the novel Ghost Ship, set in 2364, Wesley Crusher suggests using a solar sail to escape from an alien creature without attracting its attention, but William Riker says the method would be too slow.

The video game Star Trek Online features the Risian luxury cruiser (β), a space yacht equipped with a solar sail quantum slipstream drive.

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