Lightsail 2

Issues & Ideas: A solar sail, command change and tech trends for the over-50 crowd

Jul 17, 2019
Photos courtesy The Planetary Society, Fort Hunter Liggett and the AARP

On this week's Issues & Ideas: A unique spacecraft is now orbiting the earth and soon a team at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo will command it to unfurl a super-thin Mylar sail. The craft will then glide through space, propelled only by sunlight. We talk to the mission's project manager to learn more. Also, there was a recent change of command ceremony at Army Reserve Garrison Fort Hunter Liggett in Monterey County. We hear from both the outgoing and incoming commanders.

Josh Spradling / The Planetary Society

Update July 9, 2019

The deployment of Lightsail 2’s solar sails has been delayed until at least Sunday, July 21. Bruce Betts, Lightsail 2 mission program manager, said the spacecraft is stable and healthy; however, some unexpected behavior in altitude control system sensors has the mission team slowing down. “We don’t want to rush it,” Betts told KCBX News on Tuesday afternoon. “We may have to upload fixes and we want to do it in a methodical way.” KCBX News will continue to check in with the team at Cal Poly for updates.

ORIGINAL STORY PUBLISHED JULY 3, 2019

A unique spacecraft is now orbiting the earth, and soon a team at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo will command it to unfurl super-thin stretches of Mylar, serving as sails. The craft will then glide along, propelled only by sunlight.