Planetary Society

  • After three years circling the Earth, the Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 mission has come to an end following a fiery reentry. The satellite was an important tech demo for solar sailing, which could eventually propel spacecraft to other stars.
  • The Planetary Society announced today that after unfurling its solar sail last week, the tiny spacecraft has successfully leveraged photons from the Sun to shift its trajectory in Earth orbit, a landmark moment in the history of space exploration. ​​
  • ​​After launching into orbit aboard SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket last month, The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 satellite has now entered the most critical phase of its mission, successfully unfurling its solar sail and starting to surf through space on the power of the Sun.
  • Future spacecraft could be getting around under the power of sails. But of course, with no wind in space, these sails are catching another method of propulsion – photons from starlight. The tech is soon due to be demonstrated in action onboard LightSail 2, a small satellite due to launch next week.
  • The Planetary Society's brief, yet successful LightSail mission came to a fiery end on Sunday. After 25 days in orbit, the CubeSat designed to test a solar sail propulsion system burned up after reentering the Earth’s atmosphere somewhere over the South Atlantic.
  • The Planetary Society today confirmed that its LightSail satellite has successfully deployed its Mylar solar sail, achieving the main objective of the mission after 19 days in low-Earth orbit. The CubeSat completed transmission of its first image showing the sail open and partly spread out.
  • The Planetary Society's LightSail CubeSat has phoned home. After being "paused" a over a week ago due to a software error, the Society reports that the solar sail technology demonstrator has now rebooted itself.
  • The LightSail solar sail mission has been "paused" due to a software glitch related to a design flaw in the avionics software, which has frozen the onboard computer in a fashion all too familiar to terrestrial technology users.
  • The non-profit Planetary Society has announced that its LightSail spacecraft will make its first flight in May. The solar-propelled CubeSat will lift off as a piggyback cargo atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.