LightSail's flight cameras are being prepped for installation after receiving a software upgrade and checkout from their manufacturer.
At Ecliptic Enterprises Corporation in Pasadena, California, subsystem testing and integration of the solar sailing spacecraft continues. LightSail’s two flight cameras—as well as a third testing unit—were sent back to The Aerospace Corporation to receive a final firmware update and system checkout. The two flight cameras were recently returned to Ecliptic, where engineers are preparing to install them aboard the spacecraft. The third camera made its way north to San Luis Obispo, California, where it was integrated with LightSail's acrylic-mounted engineering clone, BenchSat.
Software lead John Bellardo, with the help of Ecliptic's Alex Diaz, successfully captured test images with the new BenchSat camera at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Because of data corruption problems that plagued the LightSail-A test mission, a new checksum routine—software used to verify data integrity—has been added to the image capture and transfer process.
After all component-level hardware testing is complete and LightSail has been re-assembled, the spacecraft will move on to system-level testing. On December 14, a testing readiness review will be held at The Planetary Society. System testing includes boom and sail deployments, along with a day-in-the-life test.
LightSail integration and testing lead Riki Munakata recently snapped some pictures of the spacecraft in Ecliptic's clean room. The series shows engineer Stephanie Wong preparing to mount one of the recently returned flight cameras to a solar array.