A French startup has raised an initial round of funding to begin testing of solar sails it believes can sharply reduce the cost of deep space missions.
Roccor is hoping the recent success of the Planetary Society’s Lightsail 2 will bolster interest in a retractable solar sail the Longmont, Colorado, small business displayed at the Small Satellite Conference here.
The Planetary Society announced July 31 that a small satellite it launched a month earlier had successfully demonstrated the ability to change its orbit with a solar sail.
NASA is developing a pair of solar-sailing, science-collecting cubesats that will hitch a ride on the Space Launch System’s inaugural July 2018 launch.
In a June 26 video posted to Kickstarter, Bill Nye announced that the Planetary Society surpassed its stretch goal of $1.24 million to fund the 2016 LightSail mission.
The Planetary Society has roughly a year to digest lessons from its successful but far form perfect solar sail deployment before the 2016 launch of its second LightSail satellite.
Despite earlier optimism, the Planetary Society postponed the planned June 5 deployment of the LightSail spacecraft's solar sail after communications with the craft fell silent for the second time June 4.
After worrisome computer glitches and a miraculous cosmic reboot, the Planetary Society is fairly sure its LightSail test spacecraft successfully raised its side-mounted solar panels Wednesday (June 3), literally clearing the way for deploying the cubesat’s 32-square-meter solar sail early Friday.
Hoping that the third time is the charm, the Planetary Society announced Jan. 26 that it will launch a solar sail experiment in May as a secondary payload on an Atlas 5 rocket.