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Unlimited free energy from the sun will provide CubeSat propulsion and revolutionize access to space for low-cost citizen projects.
Unlimited free energy from the sun will provide CubeSat propulsion and revolutionize access to space for low-cost citizen projects.
23,331 backers pledged $1,241,615 to help bring this project to life.

LightSail 2 Updates

Posted by Bill Nye, CEO, The Planetary Society (Creator)

LightSail 2 Launch Update - Now Expected in Early 2019

Inquiring minds (especially ours!) want to know… when will LightSail 2 fly? Our embedded LightSail reporter, Jason Davis, writes: 

“The loaf-of-bread-sized satellite, which will unfurl a 32-square-meter solar sail to harness sunlight for propulsion, was previously scheduled to hitch a ride to orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket no earlier than Nov. 30. An Air Force official now tells The Planetary Society a new "initial launch capability" is being assessed and is expected to fall in early 2019.” 

You can read Jason’s complete blog here. In the meantime, we are returning LightSail 2 from the Air Force Research Laboratory in New Mexico back to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo so we can keep her batteries topped-up. 

All plans for our launch experience for backers and members remain tentative pending the announcement of a new, firm date. Watch for continuing updates!

Omaze Lunch and Launch Winner Announced

The winner of our second popular Omaze Experience campaign was announced this week, and many of you participated. We’re over the moon excited for Gaute Tor E. from Eide, Norway, who’ll join our CEO, Bill Nye, in Cape Canaveral for LightSail 2’s launch in early 2019. Gaute Tor is passionate about all things science, philosophy, and space—so he and Bill will have a lot to chat about!

Gaute Tor will join the winner of our first Omaze Experience campaign in 2017, Tom Harris from Gainesville, Florida.

Sailing through Space in the Pages of National Geographic

Our CEO, Bill, shares The Big Idea in his new essay “Sailing through Space” in the November edition of National Geographic Magazine. In it, he shares an early astronomer’s dream was to sail on ‘the breezes of heaven.’ With our LightSail 2 set for launch on the next operational Falcon Heavy, Bill explains how yesterday’s dream is today’s reality—a sail powered by photons and, of course, our thousands of backers, members, and donors like you! 

MultaeKappae, Stef H, and 42 more people like this update.


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    1. Missing avatar

      Wayne Sherwood 3 days ago

      I look forward to seeing the sail fly. As a long time Space Enthusiast, and a die-hard Science Fiction fan I have hoped to see Solar Sails gliding through the Solar System for at least 50 years.

      But I had hoped the experiment would take place in free space, out of earth's gravity well, so that as soon as all testing was done, it could be allowed to sail outward from the sun towards the stars.

      Perhaps, next time.

    2. Bill Nye, CEO, The Planetary Society 2-time creator on

      There is interest in keeping our batteries topped-up so that they hold charge on deployment. However, even if they are drained they will charge up while in orbit using the solar panels on the spacecraft. It will simply mean that we will have to wait a bit longer for the mission to begin in earnest. For that reason, we are bringing the spacecraft back to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to keep the batteries charged. Good question!

    3. Abe Kline on

      Is there any concern that such a long time in storage might degrade the performance of the sat during deploy/on orbit?