Countdown to LightSail 2
April 1, 2019 -- LightSail 2 is the second of three satellites built to demonstrate the feasibility of powering a spacecraft using solar radiation.
The much-delayed LightSail 2 is a project to demonstrate controlled solar sailing using a miniature CubeSat satellite. It is due to launch from the Kennedy Space Center sometime in April 2019, as a secondary payload onboard the first commercial flight for Space X’s new Falcon Heavy rocket.
Developed by the not-for-profit Planetary Society, LightSail measures a diminutive 10cm x 10cm x 30cm when in stowed configuration, but will expand dramatically to 565cm x 565cm x 30cm when its solar sail is fully unfurled.
This second mission is designed to see if LightSail can move into higher orbits around the Earth using only photons from the sun to push it along.
The previous mission in 2015 successfully tested the mechanical booms which unwind to drag the folded sail into place.