jun 4 2019
LightSail is a citizen-funded project from The Planetary Society.
This cubesat will be propelled solely by sunlight, to Earth orbit.
LightSail 2 is scheduled to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy on
June 22, 2019, and we will attempt the first, controlled solar sail
flight in Earth orbit.
LightSail 2 will ride to space aboard the Department of Defense
Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission which will send 24 spacecraft
to 3 different orbits. LightSail 2 itself will be enclosed within
Prox-1, a Georgia Tech-designed spacecraft originally built to demon-
strate close-encounter operations with other spacecraft. Prox-1 will
deploy LightSail 2 seven days after launch.
After a few days of health and status checks, LightSail 2’s four
dual-sided solar panels will swing open. Roughly a day later, four
metallic booms will unfurl four triangular Mylar sails from storage.
The sails, which have a combined area of 32 square meters [344 square
feet], will turn towards the sun for half of each orbit, giving the
spacecraft a tiny push no stronger than the weight of a paperclip.
For about a month after sail deployment, this continual thrust should
raise LightSail 2’s orbit by a measurable amount.
LightSail 2 will fly in a 24-degree inclination, 720 km, circular
orbit. At latitudes of 42 degrees north it will reach a maximum
elevation of 10 degrees above the horizon.
Lightsail-2 has been issued an experimental radio license WM9XPA and
transmit on 437.025 MHz. A morse beacon will transmit the callsign
every 45 seconds. A packet beacon will transmit AX.25, FSK 9K6 bps
Beacon information is available at:
Documentation of the downlink telemetry data structure is posted at: