Pasadena, CA (June 7, 2019) — LightSail 2, The Planetary Society's historic solar sailing spacecraft, will launch no earlier than June 24, 2019, as part of the U.S. Air Force's Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission. The Air Force today announced the new target launch date for the Falcon Heavy rocket carrying the mission, which will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
LightSail 2 will pave the way for solar sailing as the world's first small spacecraft propelled by sunlight alone. The mission was crowdfunded by tens of thousands of space enthusiasts from all over the world. Solar sailing is an innovative technology still in its infancy which harnesses the free, unlimited energy of the sun to propel a spacecraft instead of chemical fuel. The LightSail 2 mission will gather needed information about how solar sails perform in space. The mission is already informing future solar sail projects by other organizations, including NASA's NEA Scout mission which will use a solar sail to visit a near-Earth asteroid.
"This is history in the making—LightSail 2 will fundamentally advance the technology of spaceflight."
Bill Nye, CEO of The Planetary Society
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Interviews with Planetary Society spokespeople, including CEO Bill Nye, are available upon request. Please contact Chief Communications Officer Danielle Gunn to schedule at [email protected] or +1-626-793-5100.
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.