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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

LightSail Launch Event

LightSail 2’s launch window opens on June 22, and we are finalizing plans for our launch viewing celebrations. Once we have finished coordinating the details with the Air Force’s STP-2 mission team and the Kennedy Space Center, we will share them with all of our members and backers so that you can join us in person or remotely via the internet.

SLS CubeSats to Set Sail for Deep Space

When SLS launches Orion to the moon in 2018, a fleet of deep space CubeSats will come along for the ride, including a solar sailing spacecraft similar to LightSail.

LightSail update: Launch dates

I’m excited to report some big news on The Planetary Society’s LightSail project: actual launch dates on actual launch vehicles!

The ASRG Cancellation in Context

ASRGs could have stretched NASA's limited supply of plutonium to potentially enable missions to the perpetually-shadowed polar craters on our moon, to flyby Uranus, or to float for months on a Titan lake.

NASA Just Cancelled its Advanced Spacecraft Power Program

The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Program (ASRG) was just cancelled by NASA. This was to be the saving grace for Plutonium-238 availability, as it was a much more efficient way to generate electricity than classic RTG systems.

Power From the Isotopes

We report on the current state of Plutonium-238 production in the United States, a crucial fuel source for planetary exploration spacecraft.

Visiting a Solar Sail in the OC

The city of Tustin is about an hour's drive from Planetary Society HQ in Pasadena. That's when the freeway gods are kind, which they never are. The trip I made there yesterday was well worth the trouble.

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