Solar Sail Spacecraft Contact Restored After Software Glitch Paused Communications
For Immediate Release
May 30, 2015
Pasadena, Ca. (May 30, 2015) -- After a successful launch into orbit aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket out of Cape Canaveral, The Planetary Society’s LightSail™ spacecraft went silent after two days of communications. The solar sailing spacecraft test mission, a precursor to a 2016 mission, has now resumed contact after a suspected software glitch affected communications. The LightSail team will soon determine when to attempt deployment of the spacecraft’s Mylar® solar sails.
Bill Nye (The Science Guy), CEO at The Planetary Society, issued the following statement:
"Our LightSail called home! It’s alive! Our LightSail spacecraft has rebooted itself, just as our engineers predicted. Everyone is delighted. We were ready for three more weeks of anxiety. In this meantime, the team has coded a software patch ready to upload. After we are confident in the data packets regarding our orbit, we will make decisions about uploading the patch and deploying our sails— and we’ll make those decisions very soon. This has been a rollercoaster for us down here on Earth, all the while our capable little spacecraft has been on orbit going about its business. In the coming two days, we will have more news, and I am hopeful now that it will be very good.”
For in-depth coverage of LightSail’s test and 2016 missions, follow embedded reporter, Jason Davis at planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis.
Related Recent News
Blog post (May 26, 2015): Software Glitch Pauses LightSail Test Mission
Press release (May 20, 2015): Bill Nye & Planetary Society Celebrate LightSail™ Spacecraft Test Launch; Citizen-funded solar sail CubeSat in orbit, awaits sail deployment stage
Visit the LightSail Press Kit for resources available for media usage, including: videos, photography, biographies and press releases.
Then & Now: Carl Sagan on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson
LightSail Mission (Full Version)
Bill Nye & Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson launch Kickstarter
LightSail Fact Sheet (PDF)
About The Planetary Society
With a global community of more than 2 million space enthusiasts, The Planetary Society is the world’s largest and most influential space advocacy organization. Founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman and today led by CEO Bill Nye, we empower the public to take a meaningful role in advancing space exploration through advocacy, education outreach, scientific innovation, and global collaboration. Together with our members and supporters, we’re on a mission to explore worlds, find life off Earth, and protect our planet from dangerous asteroids. To learn more, visit www.planetary.org.