Sailing on Sunbeams
The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 solar sail spacecraft has been sailing on sunbeams for 30 months. What’s next? Here’s more from Phys.Org:
LightSail 2, a small cubesat, launched in June 2019 on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy, as a demonstration mission to test how well a solar sail could change the orbit of a spacecraft. A month after launch, when LightSail 2 unfurled its ultra-thin 32-square-meter Mylar sail, the mission was declared a success because the sail raised the orbit of the small, loaf-of-bread-sized spacecraft.
“We’re going to a higher orbital altitude without rocket fuel, just with the push of sunlight,” The Planetary Society’s (TPS) CEO Bill Nye said at a press conference following the deployment. “This idea that you could fly a spacecraft and could get propulsion in space form nothing but photons, it’s surprising, and for me, it’s very romantic that you’d be sailing on sunbeams.”
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November 21, 2021 at 02:05AM