Next night Monday, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket will launch a group of 24 US Air Force satellites. Known as the mission of the Space Testing Program-2, the rocket will deposit its payloads in three different orbits. Perhaps the most intriguing satellite will be thrown at the second stop ̵
1; circular orbit 720 km above the ground. This is the LightSail 2 spacecraft of the Planetary Society
After a week in space, letting the satellites located in this orbit separate, LightSail 2 will drop out of his suitcase in open space. Approximately bread size, the 5kg satellite will eventually unfold in a 4m long and 5.6m tall sunshade. The carpet material constituting a canvas has a thickness of only 4.5 microns or about one tenth of the thickness of human hair.
This experiment, which will attempt to harness the photons' inertia and floats through space, is the culmination of decades of work from the Planetary Society. "This is from the very beginning, to Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Lou Friedman," Bill Ny, Chief Executive Officer, said in an interview with Ars. "W is an inheritance that was with us by the founders – it's just an intriguing technology because it reduces the cost of anywhere in the solar system."
Beginning with Sagan
While he promoted space and science in the 70s in TV shows and books, Sagan sometimes supports the benefits of sunscreen. Theoretically, continuous photon acceleration, albeit much more gradual than chemical propulsion, can push the spacecraft to other stars because this acceleration is continuous. Initially, he hoped to launch a solar canvas to catch up with Khaley's comet in 1986, but that did not happen.
After Sagan founded The Planetary Society in 1980 to support government support for space exploration, he and others continued to push for the technology. But since the US government was focusing on more traditional ways of exploration – the space shuttle program and the chemical-driven probes in the external solar system – the planetary society ultimately took its cause alone.