High above Earth, The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft is still sailing on sunbeams. During the months since LightSail 2 deployed its solar sail on 23 July 2019, the spacecraft has continued to demonstrate the first controlled solar-sailing flight in Earth orbit.
On January 10, the LightSail 2 team released a paper describing the latest results from the mission. The paper recaps mission events through late November 2019, discusses the performance of the solar sail and attitude control system, and describes how the spacecraft's orbit has changed. You can read detailed reporting on the ups and downs of LightSail 2’s orbit and learn about momentum management on our website.
The mission team will continue to take pictures, and we will post raw and edited versions on our site. Finally, as the orbit shrinks, the team will study the effect of the sail on the rate of orbital decay, sharing the data with other teams who are studying the use of drag sails to deorbit spacecraft.
We hope you enjoy the data and images from this mission, which would not have been possible without continued support from donors like you. Thank you.
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