Planetary Radio • Mar 22, 2017

Ready for Space: LightSail 2 Update

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On This Episode

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David Spencer

LightSail project manager and Mission System Manager for Mars Sample Return Campaign, NASA/JPL.

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Bill Nye

Chief Executive Officer for The Planetary Society

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Stephanie Wong

Mechanical Integration Engineer for Ecliptic Enterprises Corporation

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Alex Diaz

Senior Avionics Engineer for Ecliptic Enterprises

The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 solar sail spacecraft is ready to be packed away for its ride to orbit on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. Mat Kaplan checks the mission’s status with team members including Project Manager Dave Spencer and Society CEO Bill Nye the Science Guy. In addition to his regular What’s Up segment, LightSail Program Manager Bruce Betts provides his assessment of the effort. Casey Dreier reviews the just-announced NASA budget proposal from the Trump Administration.

LightSail 2 and Prox-1 artist concept with Earth behind
LightSail 2 and Prox-1 artist concept with Earth behind Prox-1 deploys the LightSail 2 spacecraft in Earth orbit.Image: Josh Spradling / The Planetary Society

Related Links:

This week's prizes are a Planetary Radio t-shirt, now available in both men’s and women’s styles. Also, a 200-point astronomy account, and a Planetary Society rubber asteroid.

This week's question:

What is the only Apollo Command Module flown in space that is currently on display outside the United States?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at [email protected] no later than Wednesday, March 29th at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

In the film Men in Black, where was one of Agent J’s teachers from? He thought she was from Venus, but he was wrong.


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

What is the diameter of the primary mirror on the great observatory on the Spitzer Space Telescope?


The Spitzer Space Telescope’s Primary Mirror has a diameter of 85 centimeters.