Here's Our First Look at LightSail 2 Installed on SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Rocket
Behold: Our first picture of The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft, all buttoned up and ready for its ride to orbit!
Prox-1 installed on Falcon Heavy
Prox-1, holding The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft, is seen here installed on the payload stack for the U.S. Air Force's STP-2 mission. LightSail 2's P-POD—a small box the size of a loaf of bread—can be seen sticking out the top of Prox-1.
SpaceX / The Planetary Society
Prox-1 installed on Falcon Heavy (labeled)
This image labels the position of The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft inside Prox-1.
The golden suitcase-sized box you're looking at here is Prox-1, snugly attached to the stack of spacecraft that will sit atop SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket for launch. Sticking out the top of Prox-1 is the front door of a spring-loaded canister called a P-POD. LightSail 2 is inside the P-POD. A week after the Falcon Heavy deposits Prox-1 into space, the P-POD's front door will open, releasing LightSail 2.
And here's a picture from just before LightSail 2 was installed. Notice the long spring inside the P-POD:
Bruce Betts / The Planetary Society
LightSail 2 and P-POD before integration
LightSail 2 sits next to the P-POD that will carry it into space.
Yesterday, SpaceX and the Air Force released a wide shot of the entire payload stack. The stack contains 24 spacecraft that are riding to orbit as part of the U.S. Air Force's STP-2 mission. In this image, you can't see Prox-1; it's on the back of the payload stack:
STP-2 payload stack
This image shows several of the 24 spacecraft launching on the Air Force's STP-2 mission, which will also carry LightSail 2 to orbit. LightSail 2 and its carrier spacecraft, Prox-1, are not visible in this image.