The first privately built Solar Sail spacecraft LightSail is now in orbit. Built by the Planetary Society the spacecraft was launched as a secondary payload on the Atlas V that launched earlier today.
The successful deployment of the CubeSat was confirmed by the Societies Jason Davies via Twitter.
— Jason Davis (@jasonrdavis) May 20, 2015
Once the antenna’s have deployed they expect contact later today, sometime over the next 2-4 weeks the spacecraft will deploy it’s Mylar Solar Sail which measures 32m², once deployed the light from the Sun will propel it. UPDATE – Confirmation that the antenna’s have deployed
— Dr. Bruce Betts (@RandomSpaceFact) May 20, 2015
They are already working on the second test spacecraft will is scheduled to deploy from a SpaceX Falcon Heavy in 2016, a Kickstarter is currently running to fund the second mission and is already 300% funded with at least 36 days left.
Below is an artist concept of the fully deployed Sail planned to fly in 2016.