Official: Research satellite appears to unfurl solar sails

Mission officials say a tiny spacecraft orbiting Earth appears to have successfully unfurled its solar sails to test the potential of using sunlight for propulsion.

Commands were sent Tuesday to the Planetary Society's LightSail 2 from at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Society chief scientist Bruce Betts say sent down from the craft indicates successful deployment.

Photos are expected to be transmitted later in the day to confirm deployment.

The spacecraft about the size of a loaf of bread was launched from Florida last month. Its four triangular sails were expected to form a totaling 344 square feet (32 square meters).

If it works as planned, the momentum of photons will accelerate the sail, a potential way to propel tiny satellites known as CubeSats.


Explore further

LightSail 2 is sending home new pictures of Earth

© 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Citation: Official: Research satellite appears to unfurl solar sails (2019, July 23) retrieved 20 February 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-satellite-unfurl-solar.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
46 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments