LightSail: A Revolutionary Solar Sailing Spacecraft

A project in by Bill Nye, CEO, The Planetary Society

Funding Successful

Unlimited free energy from the sun will provide CubeSat propulsion and revolutionize access to space for low-cost citizen projects.
Backers: 23331
Average Pledge Per Backer: $53

Funded: $1,241,615 of $200,000
Dates: May 12th -> Jun 26th (45 days)
Project By: Bill Nye, CEO, The Planetary Society
spacescience +Suggest

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Last Updated: June 26 @ 09:01 -0400 GMT


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Latest News

There's Now A Satellite Sailing In Earth's Orbit On The Rays Of The Sun

July 31st - via: laist.com
For the first time in human history, a spacecraft is orbiting Earth propelled by solar sails. The craft is harnessing the light of the sun, reminiscent of how ye olde tall ships captured the wind. (Read More)

Kickstarter seeks creators to launch more ambitious projects

April 19th - via: engadget.com
If you look at what's trending on Kickstarter, you'll see a bunch of gadgets, games and quirky knickknacks. While they all look fun and promising, it seems Kick... (Read More)

A quick update on a couple rewards...

June 25th - via: kickstarter.com
...about a very popular reward and a reward that just became more valuable.  Wow! The LightSail Tool Sets flew off the shelves! I just spoke with Rex, CEO of Ecliptic Enterprise Corporation, and we figured out that we could accommodate five more... (Read More)

We are LightSail

June 25th - via: kickstarter.com
This is it! Our final day for our Kickstarter campaignDear Planetary Explorers -  "...we are LightSail." This quote posted by one of our backers yesterday really struck me as I think about how this community has grown-up with this year's test... (Read More)

Bill Nye’s LightSail Scores Over $1M During the Final Days on Kickstarter

June 24th - via: crowdfundinsider.com
With less than three days until its Kickstarter comes to an end, famous science educator Bill Nye and The Planetary Society‘s LightSail project has successfully surpassed over $1 million thanks to nearly 20,000 backers. (Read More)

We've "engineered" our final rewards with a maker-twist... along with a shout-out to our rewards partners

June 23rd - via: kickstarter.com
We're almost there! Dear Planetary Explorers -  Thanks to all of you, with less than 48 hours remaining, we have about $135,000 more to go to reach our top stretch goal of $1.24 million. We can do this! And to help get us there, we have our final... (Read More)

Matching gift status report, and then... it's time to strreeettch again!

June 22nd - via: kickstarter.com
You'll need an HTML5 capable browser to see this content. Play Unmute Play with sound 00:00 00:00 Matching Gift Challenge In-Sight! Dear Planetary Explorers -  Our goal for the matching gift challenge is $1,045,000—just $22,000 away! Our... (Read More)

Wow Wow Wow!

June 22nd - via: kickstarter.com
Dear Planetary Explorers -  Because of you, we have just sailed right past that next milestone. The Big Stretch is behind us and, well, the sky's the limit!  I have to pause for a moment and simply say thank-you. You are paving a pathway forward... (Read More)

Another Milestone Approaches—$1 Million for LightSail

June 21st - via: kickstarter.com
Dear Planetary Explorers -  Because of your steady push, like photons on a solar sail, we have maintained momentum and we are soon to reach our next stretch goal: $1 million! And we are more than half-way to meeting our anonymous donor's $100,000... (Read More)

BOW-TIES, Launch Party, Spock and More!

June 19th - via: kickstarter.com
Dear Planetary Explorers -  Yes, a bow-tie (actually three!), more spots at LET'S PARTY AT THE LAUNCH (yes, that could be you standing next to me in 2016; read more about it here), and more collectible rewards are now available.  We've been... (Read More)

MAJOR UPDATE - Donor Issues Matching Challenge!

June 17th - via: kickstarter.com
You'll need an HTML5 capable browser to see this content. Play 00:00 00:00 Backer Support Inspires A ChallengeWe have amazing news! The outpouring of support from the backer community has inspired a very generous, anonymous supporter to offer to... (Read More)

Digital Donor Badges!

June 15th - via: kickstarter.com
This post is for backers only. Please visit Kickstarter.com and log in to read. (Read More)


June 14th - via: kickstarter.com
Dear Planetary Explorers - We are excited to release 25 more LET'S PARTY AT THE LAUNCH rewards this afternoon. This invitation is for one person to join us at the 2016 launch, and does not include a guest or the transportation, lodging or food for... (Read More)

Tonight I Glimpsed LightSail

June 14th - via: kickstarter.com
LightSail-A somewhere in this shot; June 14, 2015. Dear Planetary Explorers -  Tonight, for the first time, I glimpsed our spacecraft with my own eyes. It was just the faintest pinprick against the bright lights of the big city. But, there it was... (Read More)

LightSail's Orbital Decay Plus... More Rewards!

June 12th - via: kickstarter.com
Graph tracking LightSail's orbital decay. Dear Planetary Explorers - LightSail's status remains unchanged today. Due to communication issues, the team unable to command. Our latest reentry predictions continue to indicate that LightSail's mission... (Read More)

Press Conference Links + LightSail Add-Ons!

June 10th - via: kickstarter.com
Dear Planetary Explorers -  Yesterday was another great day for LightSail as we were able to hold a press conference reviewing our mission success based on deployment of the solar sails—our key mission objective. For those who missed it, you can... (Read More)

Press Conference Time Update

June 10th - via: kickstarter.com
Just a quick update - our press conference is scheduled for 1:30-2:30 p.m. EDT/10:30-11:30 a.m. PDT in case you are planning to listen live,  While listening, remember you may ask a question on Twitter using #askPlanetary, comment on our Facebook... (Read More)

Full Photograph of LightSail in Space! + Press Conference!

June 8th - via: kickstarter.com
Dear Planetary Explorers -  The LightSail project has accomplished objectives for the test mission. We passed qualification. We got a ride into space and on orbit. We learned to fly the spacecraft, which will prepare us well for LightSail-B in... (Read More)

Time to Listen and Look

June 7th - via: kickstarter.com
Dear Planetary Explorers - what a truly exciting moment for the LightSail project and The Planetary Society and its mission to advance space science and exploration. This is what it looked like at our HQ in Pasadena, California, this afternoon:... (Read More)

Sails Deployed!

June 7th - via: kickstarter.com
Great news! I'm giving our COO Jennifer Vaughn a virtual high-five upon deployment. Thirty-nine years after Carl Sagan spoke of it, the dream of thousands of Planetary Society members—and its founders, Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis... (Read More)

LightSail Deployment in 1 Hour

June 7th - via: kickstarter.com
About to Deploy LightSail! Big day for The Planetary Society! 40+ years in the making!  LightSail deployment attempt will occur 11:02 am PDT (18:02 UTC). Photographic confirmation may take a day or so as we will have to downlink image files, but... (Read More)

LightSail Back On-Line & How to Track LightSail at Home

June 6th - via: kickstarter.com
Yes, LightSail is back on-line! Dear Planetary Explorers - good news from our Planetary Society embedded blogger, Jason Davis, who tweets:  ‏@jasonrdavis LightSail is online! 9 beacon packets received during 2:14 pm EDT overflight. Team rapidly... (Read More)

Rewards Update Waiting on LightSail News

June 4th - via: kickstarter.com
Space is hard. I think you've heard me say that before.   And LightSail is full of surprises. For the moment, she is silent once again, likely due to battery/power issues. Perhaps she enjoys the spotlight like a drama queen. Or, maybe, she is just a... (Read More)

First Full Photo + Rewards Updates this Week

June 2nd - via: kickstarter.com
Dear Planetary Explorers - this is a quite a week. Our first full image download has been completed and you see it here. This is the same image we posted previously, but with incomplete data. It still looks a little abstract, but it is beautiful,... (Read More)

LightSailfie from Space

June 1st - via: kickstarter.com
Dear Planetary Explorers - LightSail has taken its first tantalizing selfie of the mission (a true selfie from space!) and it's perhaps looking a little bit like, well, Mondrian's later works? This stained-glass version makes a little more sense... (Read More)

LightSail Phones Home

May 31st - via: kickstarter.com
Dear Planetary Explorers - we are back in business. LightSail has rebooted, and we are receiving data. It’s just fantastic news.  There's much work to be done by our hardworking team, and they will be working through some important decisions... (Read More)

LightSail Speaks!

May 30th - via: kickstarter.com
Yes, #LIGHTSAIL is speaking again!  We will post more details tomorrow morning, but in the meantime, on Twitter you can follow Bill Nye @BillNye, Jason Davis @jasonrdavis, and The Planetary Society @exploreplanets for real-time info. CONTACT! Cal... (Read More)

Space is hard...

May 26th - via: kickstarter.com
Original quote by Alvin 'Tex' Johnston, Boeing Test Pilot, famous for barrel-rolling a 707 prototype. Greetings Planetary Explorers,  After many years of hard work, our LightSail-A prototype solar sail spacecraft is in orbit at last. In the coming... (Read More)

A constant, steady push...

May 25th - via: kickstarter.com
Folks - we are in the middle of our campaign now, but our momentum continues this week as we mark two amazing milestones:  With more than $725,000 pledged to-date, we are well past the half-way point for our "BIG stretch"—which started when we... (Read More)

LightSail Soars

May 20th - via: kickstarter.com
People - it was simply a perfect day. Clear skies greeted our crowd of supporters gathered in bleachers to see the launch at the Kennedy Space Center’s Apollo/Saturn V Center. In the distance, the Atlas V stood poised for it’s launch skyward.... (Read More)

Bill Nye Runs Kickstarter for New Solar Sail Spacecraft

May 19th - via: engineering.com
Bill Nye, acting as the CEO of the Planetary Society, wants to further the idea of space exploration for everyone. The group is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for LightSail, their ship that will convert photons into propulsion. (Read More)

5, 4, 3, 2, 1... Blast-off!

May 17th - via: kickstarter.com
LightSail is prepared for launch on an Atlas V rocket today, Launch scheduled between 10:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. We will have a crowd of funders on-hand, including approximately 45 of our new Kickstarter backers!  Check out Jason Davis' blog yesterday... (Read More)

Now it’s time for the BIG stretch!

May 17th - via: kickstarter.com
What an extraordinary journey it has been to reach this milestone. In just a few short days, we’ve raised over $550,000 and gained more than 10,300 backers. The response that we have received to our LightSail Kickstarter campaign demonstrates the... (Read More)


May 16th - via: kickstarter.com
Wow. I asked, and you answered. Yes, LightSail now has over 10,000 backers!  We can't stop now. Let's keep it going. Our movement has undenyeable momentum.  Onward!  (Read More)

Let’s build momentum!

May 15th - via: kickstarter.com
Great news this morning. We are moving steadily toward our next stretch goal of $550,000, which is terrific, but what is even better is that we are approaching 10,000 backers for our project!  This gets me so excited because this is exactly what... (Read More)

Because you know I’m all about that space, ‘bout that space, space travel.

May 15th - via: kickstarter.com
We did it! Our second stretch goal has come and gone! With your support, we have funds to support our orbital mission next year when we will demonstrate actual solar sailing. Our mission control teams at Ecliptic, Cal Poly SLO, Georgia Tech and other... (Read More)

Orbital Path in Sight!

May 14th - via: kickstarter.com
So, folks, this is kinda crazy! Your support is literally lifting us into the stratosphere. We are half-way to our next milestone from $325,000 just this morning to $387,500 this afternoon; $450,000 and that next digital reward—a photo from... (Read More)

Yes, we're stretching!

May 14th - via: kickstarter.com
Wow, wow, wow everyone!  We are advancing space science and exploration. We are changing the world.  The best is yet ahead. Let’s get on orbit. Let’s sail! As we approach our first stretch goals, we will begin to unlock special digital-only... (Read More)

Science Guy Bill Nye opens Kickstarter campaign for spacecraft

May 14th - via: reviewjournal.com
A Kickstarter campaign that launched Tuesday, which is fronted by Bill Nye (of “the Science Guy” fame), is asking for contributions to send a small spacecraft into the universe next year. (Read More)

Rewarding Success

May 13th - via: kickstarter.com
Success is its own reward, the saying goes, but we can't help but add rewards for the backers who are making this successful Kickstarter campaign skyrocket today.   So, since we've been getting requests for some combo packs of rewards, we have just... (Read More)

Milestones flying past at LightSail speed!

May 13th - via: kickstarter.com
Your support is just absolutely amazing! The trend line on backer support resembles the trajectory of a rocket headed for space. A coincidence? I think not!   Check it out, in the rear-view mirror, so to speak.   Yes, we are rocketing past our... (Read More)

Bill Nye starts Kickstarter campaign for solar sailing spacecraft

May 13th - via: mashable.com
Bill Nye is seeking at least $200,000 on Kickstarter to fund a solar-sailing spacecraft. (Read More)

Our first milestone - we are about to hit the 50% mark on our goal!

May 12th - via: kickstarter.com
Wow! What an incredible first 24 hours for our campaign!  We are about to cross the line to $100,000 and over 1,500 backers!  So, first of all, a HUGE thank-you to everyone getting behind us and LightSail's journey to space.  Second, we have been... (Read More)

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