Planetary Society waits to hear from the LightSail

The Planetary Society‘s first LightSail, a prototype solar sail, went to orbit last week (see post here). For several days communications with the spacecraft went well. The plan was to wait until mid-June to unfurl the sail. However, late in the week a software flaw caused the system to shut down and now the control team waits for it to reboot and call home again: Software Glitch Pauses LightSail Test Mission – The Planetary Society.

This sort of problem often happens with these small satellite projects. Usually the satellites do wake up but there’s is no guarantee. So the LightSail team could be in for an anxious few days.

If the LightSail does re-connect, it appears it will be commanded to unfurl the sail very soon rather than risk another shutdown.

The latest episode of Planetary Radio reviews the launch and the subsequent software problem : The Launch of LightSail – The Planetary Society. Listen to the audio (mp3).

Find the latest updates at the Mission Control Center – The Planetary Society.


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