The Planetary Society of the United States initiated a short test of an artificial satellite "LightSail-A" that launched on 20 May 2015. The purpose of the test is to allow a full checkout of the satellite's systems in advance of the main 2016 mission, LightSail-1. The mission is being funded on Kickstarter by over 10,300 supporters currently. Over $550,000 has been raised with the goal of $1 million.
LightSail-1 is a solar sail project scheduled for launch in April 2016 and developed by the Planetary Society, a global non-profit organization devoted to space exploration. The kite-shaped spacecraft, which was announced in 2009, will have a total cross-section of 32 square meters (340 sq ft), and will be fitted with guidance and diagnostic electronics. If the project is successful, two more solar sails, LightSail-2 and LightSail-3, will be built
Jason Davis / The Planetary Society. LightSail Liftoff The Planetary Society's LightSail test spacecraft lifts off on its maiden voyage. Liftoff aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket occured at 11:05 a.m. EDT (15:55 UTC).