Jason DavisMay 30, 2019

LightSail 2 Arrives in Florida

Next Stop: Space!

The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft has safely arrived at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The solar sailing CubeSat, tucked safely inside its Prox-1 carrier spacecraft, shipped on 19 May from the Air Force Research Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico and arrived 21 May.

LightSail, a Planetary Society solar sail spacecraft

LightSail is a citizen-funded project from The Planetary Society to send a small spacecraft, propelled solely by sunlight, to Earth orbit.

Prox-1 will soon be attached to a payload ring on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launching the Air Force's Space Test Program 2 (STP-2) mission on 22 June 2019. Prox-1 is one of 24 satellites that will be deposited into 3 different orbits. The spacecraft, which is the size of a large suitcase, will be deployed during the second orbital stop, at an altitude of 720 kilometers.

STP-2 payload stack at second orbital stop
STP-2 payload stack at second orbital stop The STP-2 payload stack at its second orbital stop, 720 kilometers above Earth, shortly before Prox-1 deployment.Image: SpaceX

LightSail 2 will remain inside Prox-1 for 7 days, as the duo drift away from 10 other spacecraft deployed at the same altitude. This should allow Prox-1 to be individually identified from the ground. Upon ejection from Prox-1, LightSail 2 flight controllers at the team's Cal Poly San Luis Obispo mission control in San Luis Obispo, California will spend roughly a week checking out the CubeSat's systems before deploying its solar panels and Mylar solar sail. 

The primary LightSail 2 mission to demonstrate controlled solar sailing by raising the spacecraft's orbit will last approximately 1 month following sail deployment.

Ryan Nugent with Prox-1
Ryan Nugent with Prox-1 Cal Poly CubeSat engineer Ryan Nugent works with the Prox-1 spacecraft following LightSail 2 final integration on 7 May 2019 at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Temporary red zip ties are attached to the P-POD extended from Prox-1, which contains LightSail 2.Image: AFRL

Sail On, LightSail 2!

Secure LightSail’s place in history by continuing flight operations, sharing our groundbreaking knowledge with NASA and the world, and telling our inspiring story at the Smithsonian.

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