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LightSail

Flight by light for CubeSats

LightSail-1 has a launch date! The Planetary Society's solar sailing spacecraft is scheduled to launch aboard the SpaceX Falcon Heavy in April 2016. 

Replay the live announcement

Read the press release

Read the story

Josh Spradling / The Planetary Society

LightSail-1 Mission Trailer

CubeSats are tiny, low-cost satellites that have opened up new avenues of space research for universities and small organizations.

In order for CubeSat applications to reach the next level, the miniature satellites need a reliable form of propulsion for orbital maneuvers and trips beyond our planet. This is where solar sailing—transferring the momentum of photons to a large reflective sail—comes in. The technology was successfully used by Japan’s IKAROS mission in 2010, and NASA’s NanoSail-D test-deployed a CubeSat solar sail in Earth orbit later that year.

In 2016, The Planetary Society’s LightSail program will take the technology a step further. LightSail-1 will attempt to demonstrate controlled solar sailing—flight by light—for CubeSats.

Project updates

Watch a Recap of LightSail's Live LightSail Launch Announcement

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/08/07 10:14 CDT

Watch a recap of The Planetary Society's live LightSail Launch Announcement, which took place July 9 at the KPCC Crawford Family Forum.

Read More »

LightSail-A Has a Blown Radio Amplifier. Now What?

Posted by Jason Davis on 2014/07/23 03:02 CDT | 1 comment

LightSail-A's blown radio amplifier doesn't affect the 2016 SpaceX Falcon Heavy mission, but it adds an unwelcome obstacle to the 2015 test mission's ever-shortening timetable.

Read More »

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!

Read More »

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LightSail - Flight by Light

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