LightSail 2 Spacecraft That Could Possibly Cover 3.6 Million Miles Per Day Successfully Tested In Earth's Orbit
Mashable - Tue 13 Aug 16:58 GMT

The success of LightSail showcases the ability of Solar Sailing over rocket propulsion

  LightSail, a project by The Planetary Society, demonstrates and explores the capabilities of solar sailing by putting it in low Earth orbit by using a miniature satellite called CubeSat.

  It is theoretically possible for humans to use solar sail spacecrafts for interstellar travel.

  Japan has launched its own Solar Sail called IKAROS in 2010 with a A/m ratio of 1.3 while the LightSail 2 boasts a A/m ratio of 7 because of the much smaller payload of CubeSat and the 32-square-meter sails.

  The Planetary Society says that, on assumption of perfect reflectivity by the Mylar sails the Sun exerts a force of 2.91x10⁻⁴ N/m² on the 32-square-meter sails of the LightSail 2 which results in an acceleration of 0.058mm/s2 which seems like it is not that big, but in a month, LightSail would be moving at 549 kmph and 8,556 kmph in a period of 16 months.

  In short, the LightSail will be ineffective as we move away from the Sun, thus for interstellar travel methods like building up speed in the Solar System or using support lasers to keep up the acceleration can be used.

  SEE ALSO: NASA Astronauts Try On Next-Gen SpaceX Spacesuits For The 2020 Mars Mission The project has already launched two spacecrafts in space namely LightSail 1 and LightSail 2.

  The mission’s goal was to check the deployment of solar sails in space, it did not perform solar sailing.