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LightSail Press Kit

We are pleased to provide comprehensive multimedia resources to support your LightSail reporting process. Please find and use the following resources in our digital media kit: current news, archived past news releases, biographies, video, high-resolution photography for print and online purposes, and background information.

In addition to these resources, interviews with Planetary Society spokespeople are available upon request. To schedule an interview, or to be added to our media mailing list, please contact our Director of Communications Erin Greeson at erin.greeson@planetary.org or +1-626-793-5100.

All press materials are provided by The Planetary Society, unless otherwise credited.

Background Information

LightSail factsheet

High-Resolution Photography for Print and Online Purposes

Image usage policy: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. For additional publication permissions, please contact us.

Click thumbnails to enlarge.

LightSail 2
LightSail 2
The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft sits on its deployment table following a successful day-in-the-life test at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on May 23, 2016.

Jason Davis / The Planetary Society

Posing for LightSail’s camera
Posing for LightSail’s camera
Bill Nye and the LightSail 2 team pose for a picture using the spacecraft’s camera.

Jason Davis / The Planetary Society

Ready for deployment
Ready for deployment
Bill Nye, CEO of The Planetary Society, waves to an overhead camera with digital editor Jason Davis. LightSail 2 sits on a deployment table behind Nye and Davis, moments before a sail deployment test.

Jason Davis / The Planetary Society

LightSail 1 updated solar sail selfie
LightSail 1 updated solar sail selfie
This image was captured by a camera aboard LightSail 1 on June 8, 2015, shortly after solar sail deployment. It was color-corrected by Dan Slater to remove the camera's artificial purplish tint based on ground test images, and is a closer approximation to what the human eye would see.

The Planetary Society

LightSail 1 in-space camera test image
LightSail 1 in-space camera test image
This image of the LightSail 1 spacecraft's aft compartment was captured by one of two onboard cameras.

The Planetary Society

Atlas V at night
Atlas V at night
This image of the LightSail 1 spacecraft's Atlas V rocket was captured the night before launch after a sound-activated remote camera was inadvertently triggered.

Navid Baraty / The Planetary Society

LightSail and the Milky Way (artist's rendition)
LightSail and the Milky Way (artist's rendition)
LightSail 1 in CubeSat form
LightSail 1 in CubeSat form
LightSail 1 during its day-in-the-life test
LightSail 1 during its day-in-the-life test

Justin Foley / The Planetary Society

Bill Nye
Bill Nye

F. Scott Schafer

Bill Nye
Bill Nye

F. Scott Schafer

Bill Nye
Bill Nye

F. Scott Schafer

Bill Nye
Bill Nye

F. Scott Schafer

Additional images available at sail.planetary.org and in our Bruce Murray Space Image Library.

Videos for Broadcast and Online Reporting Purposes

Credit: The Planetary Society

CubeSats are tiny, low-cost satellites that have opened up new avenues of space research for universities and small organizations. To help CubeSat applications reach the next level, The Planetary Society is testing an elegant propulsion method called solar sailing that could help CubeSats maneuver in Earth orbit and reach interplanetary destinations.
This timelapse video of LightSail's sail deployment test at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Sept. 23 shows the sails being deployed and tensioned. After the test, a three-person team refolds the sails and stows them back in the spacecraft.
In 1976, Carl Sagan appeared on The Tonight Show to talk about a crazy new idea: solar sailing. Nearly 40 years later, The Planetary Society is realizing this dream with a new spacecraft called LightSail designed to propel through space on beams of sunlight.

High Resolution Video Files

Press Releases/Media Alerts

The Planetary Society Invites Press to LightSail™ 2 Day in the Life Test (May 2, 2016)

The Planetary Society is preparing for the LightSail 2 mission, with the objective to demonstrate controlled solar sailing. The Day in the Life tests will occur in a cleanroom laboratory environment and an engineering high bay with the objectives to test the spacecraft’s readiness to perform in space.

LightSail™ Test Flight Named Mission of the Year at SmallSat Conference (August 13, 2015)

At the 29th annual American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)/Utah State University (USU) Conference on Small Satellites, The Planetary Society’s citizen-funded LightSail spacecraft test mission (LightSail A) was named Mission of the Year.

Bill Nye & Planetary Society Declare LightSail™ Test Mission Success (June 10, 2015)

The Planetary Society, the world’s largest non-profit space interest group, today declared the LightSail test mission a success. After 19 days in orbit, the CubeSat spacecraft deployed its Mylar® solar sails in space.

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Press Conference with Bill Nye and LightSail Team

June 10, 2015

Staff Biographies 

Headshot of Bill Nye - Updated
Bill Nye

CEO, Bill Nye. Yes, the Science Guy is now the Planetary Guy. Come along on a cosmic jouney with Bill and learn more about Your Place In Space.
Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla
Emily Lakdawalla

Emily Lakdawalla, Planetary Society blogger, podcaster, webcaster, Twitterer, et cetera. A true science cheerleader and total space geek, Emily is considered one of the most influential and passionate space bloggers around. Emily is a planetary geologist with a unique way of blending science facts and space news with a sense of whimsy, and, yes, lots of pretty pictures!
Casey Profile Picture Thumbnail
Casey Dreier

As Director of Space Policy, Casey leads the strategic planning and implementation of the Society's policy- and advocacy-related efforts. He works closely with the Society's leadership, the Board of Directors, and other policy experts to craft the organizational positions and generate ideas about the future of space exploration.

Blog Updates on LightSail

Back to school: LightSail 2 and Prox-1 provide unique experience for university students

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/08/08 06:00 CDT

From Cal Poly to Georgia Tech, university students working on SmallSat projects gain critical real-world spaceflight experience, preparing them for promising careers in the space industry.

Read More »

Videos and updates: LightSail 2 shows off magnetic personality

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/07/13 06:33 CDT | 3 comments

It's been a few weeks since LightSail 2 passed its day-in-the-life test at Cal Poly. Here's a roundup of updates that were made in response to the test results, and a look at the project's next steps.

Read More »

LightSail 2 will transmit Morse code from space, and you can make the sound your ringtone

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/10 06:30 CDT | 2 comments

The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 (.-.. / ... / ..---) spacecraft will identify itself from orbit using Morse code, and you can make the sound your ringtone.

Read More »

Mostly smooth sailing in San Luis Obispo: LightSail 2 completes day-in-the-life test

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/24 02:41 CDT | 7 comments

The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft breezed through a major systems test today, demonstrating the CubeSat can successfully deploy its antenna and solar panels, communicate with the ground, and unfurl its 32-square-meter solar sails in space.

Read More »

On LightSail 1 launch anniversary, team prepares successor craft for day-in-the-life test

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/20 06:32 CDT | 1 comments

One year ago today, LightSail 1 rode an Atlas V rocket into space. Now, the program stands on the brink of another major milestone, as engineers prepare for a full systems test of LightSail 2, a successor CubeSat that will attempt the first controlled solar sail flight in low-Earth orbit.

Read More »

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