The privately sponsored Cosmos-1 solar sail is scheduled for liftoff today, courtesy of a boost from a Russian Volna rocket, deployed from a Russian nuclear submarine positioned in the Barents Sea.
Solar sails are cool. And what better excuse to list some solar sails in science fiction!
-  “The Lady Who Sailed The Soul“, the earliest use of a solar sail in sf.
-  “Sail 25” (a.k.a. “Gateway to Strangeness”) by Jack Vance.
-  “Think Blue, Count Two” by Cordwainer Smith, a sequel to “The Lady Who Sailed The Soul“.
-  La planete des singes (Planet of the Apes) by Pierre Boulle, describes a ship that uses basic principles of solar sails.
-  “The Wind from the Sun” (a.k.a. “Sunjammer”) by Arthur C. Clarke, a short story (in an anthology of the same name) describing a solar sail craft. Clarke is often credited with the first use of a solar sail in sf.
-  “Sunjammer” by Poul Anderson, a short story that shares tha name of the Clarke story, but was released one month later.
-  The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle depicts an alien spacecraft driven by laser-powered light sails.
-  Windhaven by George R. R. Martin and Lisa Tuttle.
-  Rocheworld (a.k.a. The Flight of the Dragonfly in a 1984 abbreviated version) by Robert L. Forward, a novel about an interstellar mission driven by laser-powered light sails.
-  The Star Trek: DS9 episode “Explorers”, as primary propulsion system of the “Bajoran solar-sail vessel”.
-  Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, in which Count Dooku has a starsail spacecraft dubbed ‘Sunsailor’.