2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
LightSail-2, which will deploy its solar sail in the coming days and try to raise its orbit with it, has sent the first photographs taken by onboard cameras. They were hit by the crescent of the Earth, the Sun, glare from its light, as well as various elements of the satellite, according to the website of the Planetary Society.
The LightSail-2 satellite is the second spacecraft developed by the Planetary Society to be equipped with an expandable mylar solar sail with a total area of 32 square meters. In 2015, the possibility of deploying a solar sail in space was already successfully tested on the LightSail-1 satellite, but the device was located in low orbit, in which the force of interaction with the rarefied atmosphere exceeded the pressure of light.
LightSail-2 was launched as part of the STP-2 mission using the Falcon Heavy launch vehicle and was deployed on July 2, 2019 from the Prox 1 microsatellite. sails and try to raise your orbit with it. According to the creators of the device, a fully deployed sail will be visible to the naked eye for an observer from Earth.
Late last week, the satellite successfully deployed its radio antenna and its solar panels, activated the attitude control system, and took the first few images with its fisheye cameras, which captured the Earth's crescent moon, the sun and the glare from its lenses, as well as broken tethers holding the solar panels until they were deployed, and the internal parts of the apparatus. The sail is expected to be deployed after July 8th.
Earlier, we talked about how the first-ever interstellar asteroid discovered by astronomers in October 2017, you can try to catch up with a swarm of hundreds of small probes with solar sails, which will be accelerated by powerful lasers on Earth. More details about solar sails in space can be found in our material "Full sail".