Monday, January 26, 2015

Planetary Society to Set Sail from the Cape

Click the arrow to watch a LightSail promotional film. Video source: The Planetary Society YouTube channel.

The Planetary Society announced today that its LightSail spacecraft will launch in May from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

According to the project's web site, “our first LightSail spacecraft will hitch a ride to orbit aboard an Atlas V rocket for a shakedown cruise. We won’t fly high enough above the Earth's atmosphere for solar sailing, but we'll test our sail deployment sequence and snap some pretty pictures.” An embargoed press release issued January 23 by TPS said the Atlas V would launch from CCAFS.

According to the launch schedule, the only Atlas V launch scheduled for CCAFS in May is AFSPC 5. AFSPC is an acronym for Air Force Space Command. The official primary payload hasn't been released.

The first launch into space of a TPS LightSail will be aboard “the first operational launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket,” according to the January 23 release. That would be at Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39A, currently under renovation.

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