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Jason DavisMay 8, 2015

In Pictures: LightSail, Meet X-37B

LightSail finally met the vehicle responsible for its ride to orbit.

United Launch Alliance has released photos showing the U.S. Air Force's AFSPC-5 payload being stacked on top of an Atlas V 501 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41. The payload fairing is emblazoned with the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, a reusable space plane that takes off vertically and lands on a runway like the space shuttle.

LightSail is already encapsulated with other CubeSats inside the rocket stack, hitching a ride to orbit as part of the ULTRASat secondary payload. Launch is scheduled for May 20.

LightSail Atlas V payload integration

United Launch Alliance

LightSail Atlas V payload integration
LightSail Atlas V payload integration

United Launch Alliance

LightSail Atlas V payload integration
LightSail Atlas V payload integration

United Launch Alliance

LightSail Atlas V payload integration
LightSail Atlas V payload integration

United Launch Alliance

LightSail Atlas V payload integration
LightSail Atlas V payload integration

United Launch Alliance

LightSail Atlas V payload integration

Read more: pretty pictures, LightSail

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Jason Davis

Journalist and Digital Editor for The Planetary Society
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