LightSail-1 and other CubeSats Launch with X-37B

LightSail-1 with sail deployed - Credit Justin Foley KI6EPH

LightSail-1 with sail deployed – Credit Justin Foley KI6EPH

At 1504 UT on Wednesday, May 20 the first of The Planetary Society’s two LightSail spacecraft blasted off into space aboard an Atlas V rocket with the X-37B space shuttle. Deployment of LightSail took place at 17:05:40.620 UT. The mission is a shakedown cruise designed to test out the CubeSat’s critical systems.

UltraSat Deployer Configuration - Credit United Launch Alliance

UltraSat Deployer Configuration – Credit United Launch Alliance

There were ten CubeSats including LightSail-1 in the UltraSat Deployer onboard the Atlas V. Information on these satellites is at

The Psat and BRICSat-P CubeSats carry amateur radio PSK31 transponders for multi-user PSK31 text messaging. Psat A/B also has APRS.

LightSail-1 has a 9600 bps FSK AX.25 Packet Radio downlink on 437.435 MHz. The Planetary Society’s Jason Davis asks radio amateurs to help by emailing him any data you collect from LightSail, including screenshots of the radio signal if you have them. He’ll pass the information on to the engineering team, and your contribution will be recognized on the blog. The contact address is at

Jason provides a timeline of the launch events at For the latest updates follow him on Twitter @jasonrdavis

In 2016, the second LightSail spacecraft will piggyback into orbit aboard the first operational flight of SpaceX’s new Falcon Heavy rocket for a full-fledged solar sailing demonstration.

This video about the project features Bill Nye (the Science Guy on PBS TV) as well as Justin Foley KI6EPH, Alex Diaz KJ6KSF and Stephanie Wong.

Watch LightSail – Flight by Light (full version)

CubeSats in UltraSat Deployer - Image Credit NRO

CubeSats in UltraSat Deployer – Credit NRO

Gunter’s Space Page reports these spacecraft were onboard the Atlas V:
• X-37B OTV-4 (USA 261)
• LightSail A
• OptiCube 1 (O/C 1)
• OptiCube 2 (O/C 2)
• OptiCube 3 (O/C 3)
• USS Langley
• AeroCube 8A (IMPACT A)
• AeroCube 8B (IMPACT B)
• PSat A (ParkinsonSat A)

Frequencies courtesy JE9PEL
Satellite     Uplink          Downlink
LightSail-A      .            437.435 9600bps FSK                      KK6HIT-1
PSat-A/B       28.120 PSK31   435.350 FM PSK31  145.825 1200bps AFSK   PSAT-1 
USS Langley   145.825         437.475 9600bps FSK 
BRICsat        28.120 PSK31   435.350 FM PSK31  437.975 9600bps FSK

Further information on the CubeSats can be seen at

BRICsat and PSAT

PSK31 and APRS CubeSats

The Register

LightSail – First Day in Space

LightSail Mission Control Center

LightSail – Flight by Light

Links for satellite tracking software and Keps

Keps for the CubeSats but which object corresponds to which satellite ?