The first night flight of SpaceX Falcon Heavy to take away the solar sail of Bill Nye


light veil

Artistic representation of Lightsail 2 orbiting the Earth.

The global society

The third launch of The Elon Musk Falcon Heavy rocket system is scheduled for the evening of June 24 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Two dozen satellites will be on board, including the Revolutionary Lightsail 2 of the Planetary Society.

You may remember a few years ago that celebrities of science Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson helped lead a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to take off Lightsail. The more than 23,000 people who contributed to the campaign will see what they paid for.

the Lightsail mission is to create a new type of space flight called "solar navigation" that is powered solely by the pressure of radiation and photons from the sun. A mylar sail the size of a bedroom is deployed to capture the particles, much like the sail of a sea ship with the wind.

Astronomer Carl Sagan talked about solar sailing decades ago and the physicist Stephen Hawking has recognized it as the perfect way to visit the Alpha Centauri system this century. But no solar sail has yet performed controlled flight in space.

In 2015, the non-profit Planetary Society launched a prototype of Low Earth Orbit Lightsail. Basically, the boat was lit, its systems tested and the sail deployed, but that was about it. This month's Lightsail 2 mission fixes some of the bugs discovered in 2015 and aims to fly the craft into orbit around the Earth, testing its ability to maneuver by turning the Lightsail en route.

"It's a story in the making – LightSail 2 will fundamentally advance space flight technology," said Nye, CEO of the Planetary Society, in a statement.

The Planetary Society aims to develop the Lightsail as a means of adding a propulsion system to Cubesats. Satellites are tiny satellites that can be used for everything from scientific experiments to Earth observation through the provision of broadband internet access, but they have no means of real to maneuver once in space. Adding a Lightsail to a Cubesat could allow it to go up and down its orbit itself, greatly increasing its abilities.

The launch of Lightsail 2 is scheduled for 20:30. PT / 11.30 ET Florida. It would be the first time we saw a Falcon Heavy take off at night. NASA's new deep space atomic clock and a vehicle to demonstrate a new type of more environmentally friendly rocket booster will also be on board.

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