Although it has gone through some technical difficulties, and lost contact several times, Bill Nye’s LightSail has successfully deployed it’s solar sails, and was able to send a selfie using an onboard camera.
The LightSail is a small craft , capable of extremely high altitude flight. It uses protons from light to glide around in orbit, and has several batteries powering the equipment which are also solar powered.
The sail is the first to be launched in a planned series of many more. This particular one was set into orbit in order to test its feasibility and technological applications.
If it proves successful, it will be the path creator into developing cheaper alternatives for space flight.
Several incidents have occurred concerning Bill Nye’s LightSail . After just 2 days since launch the LightSail lost communication with Earth, due to software problems.
After that several problems concerning the batteries were occurring, the batteries could not recharge because they were either receiving too much energy from the sun or too little to successfully accumulate power.
Bill Nye heads a project called The Planetary Society. Part of this program revolves around the LighSail and its development and successful testing. The project is Non Governmental and Non profit, as is The Planetary Society.
The major importance of this project is that the LightSail does not use fuel in order to travel in orbit or in space. This naturally comes at a price, since better batteries have to be developed and a better system is required in order to safely and efficiently charge the batteries.
There was on attempt to send pictures from the LightSail on Monday. However the images were received with issues. On the first attempt the pictures were unreadable, but scientist downloaded them again and this time were able to identify a small portion of the sail as being deployed.
The test is however successful, since it has recorded data that will be used to upgrade and develop further crafts. Software upgrades are expected as well, and maybe a different transmission system , since this has been a major problem both in contacting the craft or sending information from it.
The craft has about 10 more days in space, before the Earth’s gravity will pull it into a collision course towards the ground.
Image Source: americaspace.com