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LightSail 2 Has Launched!

Jason Davis • June 25, 2019

The Planetary Society's solar sail CubeSat lifted off from Kennedy Space Center, Florida on 25 June at 02:30 EDT (06:30 UTC).

LightSail 2 is Ready for Launch

Jason Davis • June 24, 2019

The Planetary Society's solar sailing spacecraft is ready to take flight. We got an up-close look at its ride to orbit.

ESA to Launch Comet Interceptor Mission in 2028

Emily Lakdawalla • June 21, 2019

With Comet Interceptor, ESA plans to meet a comet on its first trip into the inner solar system. The mission was selected yesterday after a fast-track proposal process and will be developed on a rapid (for ESA) timeline, with a launch planned for 2028.

Here's Our First Look at LightSail 2 Installed on SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Rocket

Jason Davis • June 19, 2019

LightSail 2 is one of 24 spacecraft hitching a ride to orbit as part of the U.S. Air Force's STP-2 mission.

OSIRIS-REx Sets Low-Orbit Record, Enters New Orbital B Mission Phase

Emily Lakdawalla • June 19, 2019

Last week, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample-return mission announced that they had achieved an orbit above asteroid Bennu with an altitude of only 680 meters. Now they are surveying for landing sites and have invited the public's help.

What to Expect when LightSail 2 Launches into Space

Jason Davis • June 17, 2019

Our preview guide outlines the LightSail 2 mission from start to finish.

Reconstructing the Cost of the One Giant Leap

Casey Dreier • June 16, 2019

How much did Project Apollo cost? Planetary Society experts answered that question by revisiting primary sources and reconstructing Apollo's entire cost history from 1960 - 1973.

LightSail 2 Launch Viewing: Tips & Tricks

Justin Foley • June 15, 2019

LightSail 2 is launching on the next SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It is one payload of many on the mission known collectively as STP-2. Space Test Program (STP) is a crucial part of the US Air Force’s development of advanced technologies in space.

Where We Are

Emily Lakdawalla • June 11, 2019

The last quarter has seen few changes in the roster of planetary exploration spacecraft. SpaceIL’s lunar lander Beresheet is now on the lunar surface. Its descent on 11 April seemed to go nearly perfectly. Unfortunately, a cascade of events shortly before its planned landing caused it to hit the ground too fast, and it did not survive.

The June Solstice 2019 Issue of The Planetary Report Is Out!

Emily Lakdawalla • June 10, 2019

Two feature articles bring you the excitement and science of exploring two very different representatives of the solar system's smaller worlds.

Your Impact

The Planetary Society • June 10, 2019

The first of two new columns rounds up all the ways Society members are making a difference for space.

Treasure Hunting With Hayabusa2

Makoto Yoshikawa and Elizabeth Tasker • June 10, 2019

IN THE EARLY hours of 22 February, light was just beginning to brighten the campus of JAXA’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences (ISAS) in Kanagawa, Japan. It should have been a quiet time, but the Hayabusa2 control room was packed with people. We were about to land on an asteroid.

Rosetta’s Ancient Comet

Martin Rubin and Cecilia Tubiana • June 10, 2019

Rosetta is a European Space Agency mission with contributions from its member states and NASA. Operating such a complex mission with its 11 instruments and Philae lander is a success story in itself, but Rosetta’s greatest success is the science it delivered.

Apollo 11 Little West Crater Panorama

Mike Constantine • June 10, 2019

Apollo 11’S landing on 20 July 1969 was the day humans first set foot on another world. For the risky, challenging endeavor, NASA sought a smooth landing site, one lacking craters or mountains.

LightSail 2 Has a New Launch Date!

Richard Chute • June 07, 2019

The official launch date is now no earlier than June 24th, and the launch window still opens at 11:30 p.m. eastern time.

What's the Difference between LightSail 1 and LightSail 2?

Jason Davis • June 05, 2019

While LightSail 1 and 2 look nearly identical at a glance, there are a few important hardware differences between the two spacecraft.

Hayabusa2 drops second target marker, targets artificial crater for sample collection

Jason Davis • June 04, 2019

The reflective softball-sized sphere will give the spacecraft a visual guide during a second potential sample collection.

How to Send a Camera to Mars

Tina Seeger • June 04, 2019

The next Martian explorer, Mars 2020, currently exists as a robotic skeleton at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Teams across the world are working diligently to construct the instruments that will adorn the rover, inside and out, and thereby give it the tools it needs to explore.

Getting an Opportunity to Give Your Presentation

Kate Howells • May 30, 2019

Want to give a presentation on behalf of The Planetary Society in your community? We have tips and tricks for you!

ESA Prepares for ExoMars Rover 2020 Launch at Mars and on Earth

Emily Lakdawalla • May 30, 2019

Preparations for the ExoMars rover mission are in their final stages. ESA made two announcements today: ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter is shifting orbit, and they officially opened a new Rover Operations Control Centre (ROCC) in Turin, Italy.

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