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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 [email protected] 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

LightSail 2 Animation

This animation details the piece by piece construction of the LightSail 2 spacecraft as well as its maneuvers in space.

LightSail 1 Mission Trailer

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.

LightSail sail deployment test timelapse

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.

LightSail Then and Now

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

Press Conference to Follow Bill Nye Highlight Lecture at International Astronautical Congress (September 20, 2017)

Bill Nye and other LightSail® engineering team members will be available to answer journalists’ questions following the Highlight Lecture and LightSail 2 animation debut.

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.

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Press Conference with Bill Nye and LightSail Team

June 10, 2015

Staff Biographies 

Bill MFS thumbnail
Bill Nye

CEO, Bill Nye. Yes, the Science Guy is now the Planetary Guy. Come along on a cosmic journey with Bill and learn more about Your Place In Space.
Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla (2017, alternate)
Emily Lakdawalla

Emily Lakdawalla is an internationally admired science communicator and educator, passionate about advancing public understanding of space and sharing the wonder of scientific discovery.
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

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.

Planetary Society hosts space policy reception at Australian Embassy

Matt Renninger • September 06, 2017

This year’s International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is being held in Adelaide, Australia. Thanks to the generous support of our members, The Society’s advocacy and outreach capability is rapidly expanding, and we decided to step up our IAC advocacy this year.

A good time for solar sailing: LightSail 2 finds itself among friends

Jason Davis • August 23, 2017

Is the quest for flight by light approaching a tipping point? Representatives from the NEA Scout, CubeSail and StarChip missions discuss how their spacecraft are advancing the art of solar sailing.

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