“We’re all very happy — after years of preparation, we are flying an operational spacecraft!” Bruce Betts, said LightSail program manager and Planetary Society chief scientist in a statement. The spacecraft sent its first signal back to Earth yesterday as it flew over mission control in Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Mission ground stations at Georgia Tech and Purdue University have also received signals from LightSail 2.
So what’s next for the mission? The spacecraft’s cameras and momentum wheel will be tested to ensure that they’re working properly. This is expected to take roughly a week. After the tests, the mission team will deploy LightSail 2’s 32-square meter solar sail. For a highlight reel of the spacecraft’s mission by the Planetary Society, check out this video.