lightsail 2 releases solar-powered 'space kite' that will surf the stars
 

lightsail 2 releases solar-powered 'space kite' that will surf the stars

the planetary society’s lightsail 2 satellite has successfully unfurled its solar sail and begun surfing through space. the ‘space kite’, as we like to call it, was deployed by a space craft the size of a loaf of bread and will harness the power of the sun as it soars through the stars.

 

 

 

the lightsail 2 solar sail is the planetary society‘s attempt to demonstrate that solar surfing is a viable propulsion technique for spacecraft. if all goes to plan, the solar sail will remain in orbit around earth and gradually increase its altitude thanks to pressure from solar radiation on the sail. the plan is to have lightsail 2 orbit the earth for a year, before reigning it in again to burn up in the atmosphere.

lightsail 2’s solar sail is about the size of a boxing ring
all other images courtesy of the planetary society

 

 

the device has an area of 32 square meters and is made from mylar, a form of polyester resin used to make heat-resistant plastic films and sheet. it is hoped that tiny adjustments to the orientation of its sail will cause the sail to swing to higher altitudes over time.

images of earth captured from orbit by the lightsail 2

 

 

the solar-sail concept is not entirely new and goes back almost a century, according to the japan aerospace exploration agency, which similarly launched its ikaros toward venus in 2010. the planetary society has been working with this method for several decades. if it can successfully demonstrate solar sailing as a propulsion technique, lightsail 2 could prove the viability of using photons to propel other versions of this technology deep into the solar system.

 

project info

 

company: the planetary society

model: lightsail 2

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    PRODUCT LIBRARY

    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    technology news

    ×
    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    490,142 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample