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 Spacecraft Successfully Demonstrates Flight by Light

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Spacecraft Successfully Demonstrates Flight by Light Vide
PostSubject: Spacecraft Successfully Demonstrates Flight by Light   Spacecraft Successfully Demonstrates Flight by Light Icon_minitimeWed Jul 31, 2019 10:24 pm

Years of computer simulations. Countless ground tests. They've all led up to now. The Planetary Society's crowdfunded LightSail 2 spacecraft is successfully raising its orbit solely on the power of sunlight. 
Since unfurling the spacecraft's silver solar sail last week, mission managers have been optimizing the way the spacecraft orients itself during solar sailing. After a few tweaks, LightSail 2 began raising its orbit around the Earth. In the past 4 days, the spacecraft has raised its orbital high point, or apogee, by about 2 kilometers. The perigee, or low point of its orbit, has dropped by a similar amount, which is consistent with pre-flight expectations for the effects of atmospheric drag on the spacecraft. The mission team has confirmed the apogee increase can only be attributed to solar sailing, meaning LightSail 2 has successfully completed its primary goal of demonstrating flight by light for CubeSats.
"We're thrilled to announce mission success for LightSail 2," said LightSail program manager and Planetary Society chief scientist Bruce Betts. "Our criteria was to demonstrate controlled solar sailing in a CubeSat by changing the spacecraft’s orbit using only the light pressure of the Sun, something that’s never been done before. I'm enormously proud of this team. It's been a long road and we did it."

Spacecraft Successfully Demonstrates Flight by Light 20170724_ls-2-earth_t233

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/lightsail-2-successful-flight-by-light.html
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