Press Conference to Follow Bill Nye Highlight Lecture at International Astronautical Congress

LightSail® 2, Flight by Light & Innovations in Solar Sailing

Media Advisory
September 20, 2017

Erin Greeson
Phone: +1-626-793-5100


Bill Nye, CEO, The Planetary Society
Dr. David A. Spencer, Associate Professor, Purdue University, LightSail 2 Project Manager
Dr. John M. Bellardo, Professor of Computer Science, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Erin Greeson, Director of Communications, The Planetary Society

WHAT: Bill Nye and other LightSail® engineering team members will be available to answer journalists’ questions following the Highlight Lecture and LightSail 2 animation debut. About IAC Highlight Lecture 1 “Flight by Light: LightSail® & Innovations in Solar Sailing”: Bill Nye, CEO of The Planetary Society and one of the world’s leading science educators, will highlight IAC 2017 themes through the inspiring story of LightSail®, a solar sailing spacecraft that became a global phenomenon. Leveraging this case study as context, Nye will explore stories of solar sailing origins, applications, planned missions, and future possibilities. LightSail is a citizen-funded cubesat that demonstrates solar sailing propulsion technology: flight by sunlight. In addition to discussing solar sailing, Nye will address broader themes relevant to the global space science community, including NASA’s role under the current U.S. administration. The Planetary Society is the world’s largest independent non-profit space organization, with more than 50,000 members in over 100 countries worldwide. Cofounded by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman, the group’s mission is to empower the world’s citizens to advance space science and exploration.


Highlight Lecture: Tuesday 26 September 2017, 17:45-18:45, Adelaide Convention Center, Hall C

Press Conference to Follow: Tuesday 26 September 2017, 18:45-19:45, Panorama Suite, Adelaide Convention Center

RSVP: Open to all IAC press attendees. Email [email protected] for IAC credentialing instructions.

WHY: The LightSail 1 test mission was of great interest to global journalists. The Planetary Society is committed to providing real-time program updates, information and multimedia reporting resources as the LightSail 2 mission, the first controlled solar sailing attempt for a cubesat, prepares to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy.

MEDIA RESOURCES: LightSail 2 animation will debut at IAC Adelaide. It will be available for media usage following Bill Nye’s Highlight Lecture. Visit The Planetary Society press room for updates.

LightSail Website

Jason Davis Blog, LightSail embedded reporter and media resource

Bill Nye Bio


Lunch and Launch with Bill Nye Campaign


LightSail 2 artist concept with Earth behind
LightSail 2 artist concept with Earth behind Artist's concept of LightSail 2 above Earth.Image: Josh Spradling / The Planetary Society
LightSail 2 orbital raising
LightSail 2 orbital raising LightSail 2 makes 90-degree turns to gradually raise the semi-major axis of its orbit by several hundred meters per day.Image: Josh Spradling / The Planetary Society
LightSail 2 sail deployment test success, 23 May 2016
LightSail 2 sail deployment test success, 23 May 2016 The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft sits on its deployment table following a successful day-in-the-life test at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on May 23, 2016.Image: Jason Davis / The Planetary Society
LightSail 2 antenna location
LightSail 2 antenna location LightSail's antenna is located in the spacecraft's aft compartment, and protrudes perpendicular to the sail deployment motor.Image: Jason Davis / The Planetary Society

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