Bill NyeJun 14, 2015

Tonight I Glimpsed LightSail

This article originally appeared on LightSail's Kickstarter page.

Tonight, for the first time, I glimpsed our spacecraft with my own eyes. It was just the faintest pinprick against the bright lights of the big city. But, there it was right on time and exactly per the coordinates. I’ve tried to see it a few times before, but clouds and lights obscured my view.

LightSail 1 glimpsed
LightSail 1 glimpsed LightSail 1 is somewhere in this shot on June 14, 2015.Image: Bill Nye / The Planetary Society

Tonight was the first time it was high enough above horizon (41ᵒ) and clear enough. It came out about 20 seconds later than I expected. But there it was. I know that by the time most of you read this, LightSail-A will probably have been incinerated in the atmosphere. That is and was the plan for this test flight. My few moments alone on the roof tonight with our LightSail spacecraft silently crossing the sky were very gratifying.

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LightSail 1 with solar sails deployed
LightSail 1 with solar sails deployed LightSail 1 captured this image of its deployed solar sails in Earth orbit on June 8, 2015.Image: The Planetary Society

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