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We are going to merge the ultra-light technology of nanosats with the ultra-large technology of solar sails in an audacious new program-- setting a course to the stars” 
-- Louis D. Friedman, Co-founder The Planetary Society

It's the biggest project in our history.
The Planetary Society is taking solar sailing to the next level…

Our solar sail is back! The Planetary Society is almost complete building a spacecraft to sail on sunlight alone. The new solar sail project, boosted by a one-million-dollar anonymous donation, is the beginning of an innovative program to launch a solar sail in Earth orbit.

Our program -- called LightSail -- begins with our LightSail-1 mission, which will demonstrate that sunlight can propel a spacecraft in Earth orbit.

LightSail-1 is a global project that EVERYONE can be a part of!

You can help create and launch a spacecraft designed to blaze a path to the stars.

Sailing on light pressure (from lasers rather than sunlight) is the only known technology that might carry out practical interstellar flight, helping pave our way to the stars. And, with our new LightSail project, we're also addressing the eminently practical, such as:

  • monitoring the Sun for solar storms,
  • providing stable Earth observation platforms, and
  • exploring our solar system without carrying heavy propellants.

After our first solar sail, Cosmos 1, was lost, we asked our members, "Should we try again?" We heard a resounding, "Yes! Go for it!" So we kept investigating all the possibilities, and now, thanks to your continued support -- including the million dollar donation – we've assembled a great mission team of top engineers and scientists, and we're moving ahead.

Project Updates

Piecing the Data Together

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2005/06/23 12:00 CDT

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"We have a live spacecraft..."

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2005/06/21 09:41 CDT

...we think.

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Final Words before Launch

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2005/06/21 12:00 CDT

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Cosmos 1 Solar Sail will Carry CD into Orbit

Posted by Susan Lendroth on 2005/06/16 12:00 CDT

When Cosmos 1, the first solar sail spacecraft, launches on June 21, 2005, it will carry into Earth orbit a CD containing the names of over 75,000 members of The Planetary Society and the Japan Planetary Society, along with the works of early visionaries who inspired solar sailing.

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Cosmos 1: Another rehearsal...

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2005/06/15 06:21 CDT

Rehearsals don't always go so well, which is the whole point of rehearsals. That was true both for us and for the Russians today, in separate simulations of mission operations.

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"Our works with the spacecraft are finished successfully.""

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2005/06/10 10:56 CDT

Here at Cosmos 1 Project Operations Pasadena -- or POP -- we are scrambling to get our mission operations plans and procedures ready for our launch, just 11 days from now.

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