Join Donate

sail.planetary.org Redirect

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

Sharing Space in Australia

Erin Greeson • November 06, 2017

The Planetary Society’s 2017 journey to Australia expanded our perspective, advocacy and global community. It was rich with reminders close to Carl Sagan’s heart: We are all connected through time, humankind, and our origins in the stars.

Here's how engineers closed out LightSail 2 for flight

Jason Davis • October 27, 2017

The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft is in a flight-ready state, marking a major milestone for the program.

NASA, international partners consider solar sail for Deep Space Gateway

Anatoly Zak • September 25, 2017

A Canadian Space Agency proposal would install a solar sail on the outside of the Deep Space Gateway, a miniature space station in lunar orbit.

Items 1 - 3 of 113  12345678910Next
astronaut on Phobos
Let's Change the World

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Today

LightSail
LightSail

LightSail 2 will launch aboard the SpaceX Falcon Heavy. Be part of this epic point in space exploration history!

Donate

You are here: