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Blog Archive

 

LightSail update: Launch dates

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/07/09 09:00 CDT | 2 comments

I’m excited to report some big news on The Planetary Society’s LightSail project: actual launch dates on actual launch vehicles!

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LightSail presented at Aerospace Mechanisms Symposium

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/05/31 03:10 CDT | 20 comments

Chris Biddy from Stellar Exploration Inc. presented information about our LightSail project at the 2012 Aerospace Mechanisms Symposium.

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Visiting a Solar Sail in the OC

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2012/03/16 06:33 CDT

The city of Tustin is about an hour's drive from Planetary Society HQ in Pasadena. That's when the freeway gods are kind, which they never are. The trip I made there yesterday was well worth the trouble.

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A new trick for IKAROS: Spinning the other way

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/19 01:49 CDT

JAXA's solar sail demonstration craft IKAROS is still puttering along, 17 months after it launched, and its controllers back on Earth keep coming up with new things to try with it. I'm pretty amazed by the most recent trick: reversing its spin direction. This may not sound like a big deal, but it is, especially for IKAROS.

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Testing Sail Deployment

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2011/03/06 11:00 CST | 1 comment

The first full scale deployment of the Planetary Society's LightSail-1 solar sail was conducted on March 4, 2011 at Stellar Exploration in San Luis Obispo, California.

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LightSail-1 on NASA Short List for Upcoming Launch

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2011/02/09 11:00 CST

NASA announced that the Planetary Society’s LightSail-1 solar sail mission is on their short list for upcoming launch opportunities. The missions selected are Cubesats destined for piggyback launches as part of NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative.

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Nanosail-D released into space

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2011/01/21 12:26 CST

NASA's Nanosail-D spacecraft surprised everyone, including its controllers, by suddenly deploying from its parent FASTSAT spacecraft and beginning its mission in space.

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It's Alive! It's Alive!

Posted by Charlene Anderson on 2011/01/20 06:00 CST

It was once thought lost in space, but it looks like NanoSail-D has ejected from its FastSat carrier and is preparing for deployment.

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LightSail Update: The International Solar Sailing Symposium

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2010/10/01 12:00 CDT

Japan's IKAROS team stole the show at the International Solar Sailing Symposium in New York City, where they announced that their spacecraft had achieved controlled solar sail flight.

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LightSail team learns from IKAROS successes

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2010/07/26 12:00 CDT

Last week, Bill Nye and I attended the International Solar Sail Symposium at the New York College of Technology.

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LightSail team learns from IKAROS successes

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2010/07/26 11:32 CDT

While we were in New York for the International Solar Sailing Symposium last week, we held a meeting with the Japanese IKAROS team to discuss technical results and issues in our two projects.

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LightSail-1 Passes Critical Design Review

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2010/06/25 12:00 CDT | 1 comment

LightSail-1, the Planetary Society's new ultra-light Cubesat-based solar sail spacecraft, has passed its Critical Design Review.

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IKAROS' deployable camera captures perfect sail photos and animation!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/15 08:50 CDT

We've already seen IKAROS' view of its deployed sails from cameras attached to the spacecraft, but, in a brilliant idea, the Japanese built IKAROS with two deployable cameras that could view the thing from a distance.

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IKAROS: Successful sail deployment and solar power generation! Hooray!!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/10 10:46 CDT

JAXA finally issued the formal announcement: they successfully expanded IKAROS' square sail!

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Progress -- with pictures! -- on IKAROS' sail deployment

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/09 09:19 CDT

Several pictures from the sail deployment monitoring cameras showed up on the IKAROS blog overnight.

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Lou Friedman is "our man in Japan" to watch IKAROS sail deployment

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/03 04:58 CDT

Planetary Society Executive Director Lou Friedman is now in Japan, joining the rest of the IKAROS team to watch the eagerly anticipated deployment of its solar sails.

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Firming Up the Spacecraft Design

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2010/05/27 12:00 CDT

The LightSail-1 spacecraft development is proceeding well. Our engineering team has completed crucial milestones to building the vehicle that will demonstrate the value and potential of using sunlight alone to propel exploratory craft through space.

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Solar Sail Update: New Opportunities

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2009/04/01 12:00 CDT

At the beginning of this decade, we designed a mission to accomplish this goal. We launched Cosmos 1 in June 2005, but the Volna rocket that was to place the spacecraft in orbit failed, and we were never able to test our solar sail in flight. These days, The Planetary Society is working with colleagues at NASA and at the Russian Space Research Institute to put together a new solar sail mission.

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New Developments on the Road to Cosmos 2

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2008/06/23 12:00 CDT

The Planetary Society and Cosmos Studios remain committed to flying the first flight with light. Our spacecraft, Cosmos 2, is a maneuverable solar sail that may be the precursor to a new mode of interplanetary travel, and could one day take us to the stars.

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Cosmos 2

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2007/11/16 11:00 CST

A letter from the Executive Director to the members and supporters of The Planetary Society.

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