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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 Communications Manager Danielle Gunn at [email protected] or +1-626-793-5100.

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

Background Information

LightSail 2 with solar panels closed
LightSail 2 with solar panels closed

The Planetary Society

LightSail 2 with solar panels open
LightSail 2 with solar panels open

The Planetary Society

LightSail 2 with solar sail deployed
LightSail 2 with solar sail deployed

The Planetary Society

The History of Solar Sailing
The History of Solar Sailing

The Planetary Society

LightSail 2 scale comparison (approximate)
LightSail 2 scale comparison (approximate)
Approximate size comparison of the LightSail 2 spacecraft with sails stowed and deployed.

The Planetary Society

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 2
LightSail 2
Artist's concept of LightSail 2 above Earth.

Josh Spradling / The Planetary Society

LightSail 2 and Prox-1
LightSail 2 and Prox-1
Prox-1 deploys the LightSail 2 spacecraft in Earth orbit (artist's concept).

Josh Spradling / 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 in the LightSail Media Gallery and in our Bruce Murray Space Image Library.

Videos for Broadcast and Online Reporting Purposes

Credit: The Planetary Society

Please accept marketing-cookies to watch this video.

A new way to travel space - with Bill Nye

Did you know there's a way for spacecraft to travel farther, faster, and maybe one day reach other stars? Bill Nye is here to teach you about the game-changing technology called solar sailing.

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The Dream of Solar Sailing - LightSail 2

For centuries, people have dreamed of using solar sails to travel the cosmos. In 2019, The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 will help make that dream a reality by attempting the first, controlled solar sail flight in Earth orbit. The spacecraft was made possible thanks to the generous support of space enthusiasts from around the world.

Please accept marketing-cookies to watch this video.

LightSail 2 Animation

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

Please accept marketing-cookies to watch this video.

The Planetary Society

LightSail 2 mission highlights
This video shows brief highlights from The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 mission.

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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

Project Leaders

Interviews available upon request.

Bill Nye headshot
Bill Nye

Bill Nye isn't just the Science Guy—he's a Planetary Society charter member and has been The Planetary Society's CEO since 2010.
Headshot of Bruce Betts
Bruce Betts

Dr. Bruce Betts is The Planetary Society's chief scientist, and the program manager for LightSail 2.
Headshot of Jennifer Vaughn
Jennifer Vaughn

Jennifer Vaughn is The Planetary Society's chief operating officer.
Jason Davis thumbnail
Jason Davis

Jason Davis is a digital editor for The Planetary Society. He writes about the world's space exploration missions and the Society's science and technology projects.

Press Releases/Media Alerts

Bill Nye, LightSail™ Team & Planetary Society to Host Solar Sail Spacecraft Press Conference (June 8, 2015)

After a successful launch into orbit, The Planetary Society’s LightSail™ spacecraft embarked on a solar sailing test mission as a precursor to a 2016 mission. Complete test mission success hinges on the deployment of LightSail’s Mylar® solar sails. LightSail experts will present sail deployment outcomes and offer a period for media questions.

Bill Nye & Planetary Society Celebrate LightSail™ Test Mission Landmark (June 7, 2015)

LightSail's tiny solar sail deployment motor sprung to life Sunday afternoon, marking an important milestone for The Planetary Society’s nail-biting test mission.

Solar Sail Spacecraft Contact Restored After Software Glitch Paused Communications (May 30, 2015)

After a successful launch into orbit aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket out of Cape Canaveral, The Planetary Society’s LightSail™ spacecraft went silent after two days of communications. The solar sailing spacecraft test mission, a precursor to a 2016 mission, has now resumed contact after a suspected software glitch affected communications.

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Blog Updates on LightSail

The day I caught rocket fever

MaryLiz Bender • September 20, 2018

On February 6, 2018, I found myself shoulder to shoulder with two of my heroes: Bill Nye on the left, Buzz Aldrin on the right. Our eyes were fixed on the first vertical Falcon Heavy rocket. Figuring the world's most powerful rocket might send me flying backwards once the countdown hit zero, I gripped the railing so tightly I started to lose the feeling in my fingertips.

LightSail 2 updates: Launch date slips, environmental test complete, new video released

Jason Davis • August 08, 2018

LightSail 2's ride to space won't happen until at least November 30, as SpaceX works through a list of other payloads in line to fly first.

LightSail 2 team completes key mission review and dress rehearsal

Jason Davis • July 26, 2018

The LightSail 2 team gathered in Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for a Mission Readiness Review (MRR) and Operational Readiness Test (ORT).

LightSail 2 launch slips to Fall

Jason Davis • May 11, 2018

The second flight of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket is now scheduled for no earlier than October 30, 2018.

Pew pew! Lasers will help determine where LightSail 2 is

Jason Davis • April 25, 2018

The International Laser Ranging Service, or ILRS, will lend its services to the LightSail 2 mission.

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