Solar Sail Satellite Lightsail-2 Now Transmitting Morse Code Beacon

Lightsail-2 is a solar sail experiment which successfully launched on a Space-X Falcon Heavy on 25 June, and was released into orbit on July 2nd. A solar sail is a type of spacecraft that uses a large metallic foil to create propulsion via photons from the sun hitting it. Lightsail-2 is still undergoing testing, so it has not yet deployed it's solar sail, but recent updates indicate that it is healthy.

On board Lightsail-2 is a radio which is transmitting it's morse code beacon "WM9XPA" every 45 seconds at 437.025 MHz. This beacon should be able to be received with a handheld amateur radio 70cm Yagi and any radio such as an RTL-SDR. There is also an AX.25 telemetry data transmission, however although the beacon structure is available we are not aware of any publicly available decoding software.

One difficulty in receiving Lightsail-2 is that it is in an orbit inclination of only 24 degrees. So only locations with a latitude between 42 and -42 degrees will have a chance at receiving it. You can see the solar sail's current location at N2YO. Clicking on the 10-day predictions button will give you pass predictions for your location.

Estimated Lightsail-2 Viewing Range
Estimated Lightsail-2 Viewing Range
Lightsail-2 Deployed
Lightsail-2 Deployed

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