September 19, 2019

LightSail team declares success in solar sail experiment

August 1, 2019

The gentle push of sunlight is slowly changing the orbit of the Planetary Society’s crowd-funded LightSail 2 satellite after it unfurled a thin solar sail the size of a boxing ring last week, officials confirmed Wednesday.

Privately-funded spacecraft now solar sailing in Earth orbit

July 26, 2019

A nanosatellite launched aboard SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket last month has unfurled a solar sail membrane and is using light pressure from the sun to change its orbit around Earth, pioneering techniques that could be used by future missions traveling to the sun’s stellar neighbors.

Russian billionaire devotes $100 million to star flight initiative

April 13, 2016

Russian billionaire Yuri Milner plans to spend $100 million over the next few years to begin developing the technology needed to build a giant laser array to propel swarms of postage stamp-size spacecraft off on 20-year-long interstellar flights to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to the sun, the internet investor announced Tuesday.

LightSail hailed as precursor for low-cost planetary missions

June 10, 2015

Managers in charge of the privately-funded LightSail solar sail in Earth orbit said Wednesday the success of the experiment is a step toward opening up the solar system to scores of modest science probes that could explore space at a fraction of the cost of traditional government-backed missions.

LightSail deployment set for this week

June 1, 2015

The Planetary Society’s LightSail spacecraft is back in contact with ground controllers after nine days of radio silence triggered by a suspected software glitch, and engineers plan to send the command to unfurl the tiny satellite’s solar sail as soon as Wednesday.

Citizen-funded CubeSat ready to go solar sailing

May 19, 2015

A shoebox-sized satellite conceived and funded by members of the Planetary Society, an advocacy organization co-founded by Carl Sagan, is fastened to an Atlas 5 rocket for launch Wednesday to test one of the late celebrity-astronomer’s futuristic concepts for exploring the cosmos.

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