LightSail 2 completes second year in space

Continue taking footageWe love sharing fairly footage from LightSail 2 with the general public. These footage additionally serve an essential engineering objective by displaying us how the sail is degrading because of the harsh space atmosphere, and the way the 4 metallic booms that maintain the sail tight are behaving.Recently we’ve seen potential degradation of the sail by means of shrinkage, crinkles, and sure delamination of the sail’s reflective coating in some areas. We have additionally observed systematic adjustments in the place of sail growth suggestions in pictures, in addition to non-systematic adjustments that could be attributable to thermal growth and contraction of the sail booms. Analyses are ongoing. Automated fault detectionWhether it’s a big-budget NASA mission or a crowdfunded CubeSat, laptop glitches and surprising behaviors are a part of each space mission. Automated fault detection software program may also help velocity the detection of issues.Purdue researcher Justin Mansell developed a fault detection and analysis algorithm that he utilized to LightSail 2 as a part of his Ph.D. dissertation. When utilized to LightSail 2 telemetry knowledge, Mansell’s software program has efficiently noticed anomalies, reminiscent of non permanent glitches in the magnetometers and gyros, that will have in any other case been ignored or discovered extra slowly.Sharing, coordinating, and archiving LightSail 2 is supposed to allow and help future photo voltaic crusing missions. An enormous a part of our prolonged mission is sharing what we’re studying. We publish peer-reviewed journal articles, make convention displays, and conduct public outreach by means of social media and articles just like the one you’re studying proper now.We additionally interface instantly with different photo voltaic crusing missions. NASA has three such missions deliberate: NEA Scout, Solar Cruiser, and ACS3. We share knowledge and facilitate extra research to assist these mission groups be taught from our experiences. Furthermore, we doc and archive our LightSail 2 knowledge in order that it is going to be accessible for evaluation by future missions.Fly the spacecraftThere’s yet one more essential side of the LightSail 2 prolonged mission: we’ve to fly the spacecraft!I’d like to increase a giant thanks to our core group*. We meet every day to evaluate spacecraft well being and efficiency, and to plan future actions. Our group carries out ongoing upkeep and monitoring to maintain the spacecraft functioning correctly. We uplink orbital components twice every week in order that the spacecraft is aware of the place it’s. Maintenance actions additionally embody clearing file space on the onboard laptop as wanted, working points and anomalies as they come up, and monitoring engineering telemetry.These previous two years of LightSail 2 operations wouldn’t have been potential with out the help of our members and donors. Thanks to your help, we’ll be capable of proceed studying as a lot as we are able to from this distinctive mission!*The LightSail 2 Operations Core Team is: Dave Spencer (challenge supervisor, JPL/Vestigo Aerospace), John Bellardo (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo), Barbara Plante (Boreal Space), Justin Mansell (Purdue University), and Bruce Betts (program supervisor, The Planetary Society).

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