LightSail 2 Is Officially Soaring on Sunlight

Thursday 01st August 2019 - 17:01

LightSail 2 Is Officially Soaring on Sunlight


The Planetary Society announced mission success as LightSail 2, the bread-loaf-sized, crowd funded, solar-powered spacecraft orbiting Earth - officially raised its orbit with the power of sunlight alone.

"Today, we declare mission success - we're going to a higher orbital altitude without rocket fuel, just with the push of sunlight," Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye said in a press conference. 

After LightSail 2 successfully deployed its solar sail last week, mission managers remotely optimized the craft's orientation.

With these small changes, the craft began raising its orbit above our planet, raising its apogee, or orbital high point.

Within the past four days, the craft has raised its apogee about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers).

The mission team behind the craft confirmed that this orbital raising could be due to nothing other than successful solar sailing, or propulsion from photons, particles that transmit light, from the sun.