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LightSail

Flight by light for CubeSats

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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. 

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Josh Spradling

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

LightSail 2 Team to Conduct More Testing before Sail Deployment

Jason Davis • July 09, 2019 • 3

Sail deployment is now scheduled for no earlier than 21 July 2019.

Here are the First Pictures of Earth from LightSail 2

Jason Davis • July 07, 2019 • 10

Pictures taken by the spacecraft's cameras Friday evening show a crescent Earth, as LightSail 2 heads into orbital sunset.

See the Latest Data from LightSail 2 on Our New Mission Control Dashboard

Jason Davis • July 05, 2019

Would you like to see the latest data from The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft—possibly before flight controllers have even seen it? Now you can!

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