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LightSail deployable solar panel and camera montage

LightSail deployable solar panel and camera montage

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Jason Davis / The Planetary Society

LightSail deployable solar panel and camera montage
Before sail deployment, LightSail's four deployable solar panels remain closed (top). Two panels have inward-facing cameras. Before solar sail deployment, test images from the cameras will capture the aft spacecraft compartment, which includes the sail deployment motor (middle). Just before sail deployment, the panels hinge outward, positioning the cameras to capture images of the sail unfurling (bottom). Solar panel deployment also clears a path for the sail booms and sails. The solar panels stay closed before deployment to prevent the sail material from billowing out of its storage compartments.

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