LightSail Solar Sail

The Planetary Society’s LightSail craft, is helping to test solar sail technology. Its recent launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida was not without problems! Two days after launch, LightSail went off-line due to a software glitch. Then – following eight days of silence – it initiated contact again (mission managers claim batteries issues were the cause!).

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The importance of solar sails cannot be underestimated. They can utilize sunlight, propelling themselves forward into deep space. Supporters of the technology estimate these technologies will someday efficiently fly across solar system and beyond. Research and testing has become invaluable!

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In this mission, an ultra-thin, 344-square-foot (32-square-meter) solar sail unfurled thanks to the team’s perseverance. Following this successful deployment, the team’s renewed confidence is set to lead to more ambitious tests in the near future.

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In addition to the Planetary Society, other partners include Stellar Exploration Inc., (who actually designed the vehicle); Ecliptic Enterprises Corp., (lead contractors); the California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo); and Georgia Tech.

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For updates on the status of LightSail, please check the link below:


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