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LightSail 2 is officially in space! The Planetary Society's solar sail CubeSat lifted off from Kennedy Space Center, Florida on 25 June at 02:30 EDT (06:30 UTC). The late-night launch came courtesy of SpaceX's triple-booster Falcon Heavy rocket, which was carrying 24 spacecraft for the U.S. Air Force's STP-2 mission.
Defending the planet from the hazard of potential asteroid impacts requires investments from the whole world. In Europe, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Union both support work to understand and mitigate the threats from near-Earth objects.
CubeSats have made low-cost space missions a reality for universities and research groups. However, these tiny satellites lack propulsion. LightSail will demonstrate the viability of solar sailing for CubeSats.