Were there any needles launched into space as an experiment? The experiment would be to launch 40 tons worth of needles into space and see if the pressure of the sunlight can push it away.
Scientific American, August 1998 (Vol 279, Number 2, article by N.L.Johnson, Page 43, (63 in US edition?!)) explains :
“80 clumps of needles (were) released in May 1963 as part of a US Department of Defense telecommunication experiment. The radiation pressure exerted by sunlight (???) was to have pushed the tiny needles - all 400 million of them - out of orbit …”
It says it on this website here: http://thiaoouba.com/faq.htm
Its under the question: What do you know about the needles, which the people from Thiaoouba have removed twice from their orbit around Earth ?