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LightSail Spacecraft Test Mission Ends With Fiery Reentry

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Following its 25-day cruise in low-Earth orbit, LightSail, an experimental solar sail propulsion system launched by The Planetary Society, expectedly fell from its orbit and broke apart in the Earth’s atmosphere. The small boxlike structure was launched into space in May, blossoming into a 32-m2 spacecraft when its thin reflective plastic sail was deployed. Solar sailing works by using sunlight for propulsion. When solar photons struck LightSail’s reflective sails, their momentum was transferred to the spacecraft, gradually accelerating it through space. While the push from...Read full article

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