25 June 2019: Lightsail 2 Launch
Following a three-hour launch delay, the Space Test Program 2 (STP-2) Falcon Heavy lifted off pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center at 2:30 AM EDT. Following deployment of a set of CubeSats into a lower orbit, the Prox-1 spacecraft deployment was confirmed by SpaceX at 07:49 UTC (3:49 AM EDT). Prox-1 was delivered to a near-circular orbit with the following orbital elements in the Earth-centered Earth-fixed coordinate frame:
UTC time of state estimate: 176:07:49:20.977 (ddd:hh:mm:ss.fff)
Apogee Altitude: 725.017 km
Perigee Altitude: 721.711 km
Inclination: 24.014 deg
Argument of Perigee: 52.035 deg
Longitude of Asc. Node: -185.975 deg
True Anomaly: 309.570 deg
Prox-1 will complete 100 orbits over the next week before deploying LightSail 2 exactly 7 days after the initial Prox-1 bootup upon separation from the launch vehicle. The timer-driven deployment should result in LightSail 2 being ejected from the Prox-1 P-POD at 07:49 UTC on July 2. The LightSail 2 antenna will be deployed five minutes later, and transmission of telemetry beacons will begin 45 minutes after P-POD deployment, at approximately 08:34 UTC (1:34 AM PDT).
The LightSail 2 flight team will converge on Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for initial mission operations. The first possible opportunity for the team to receive the radio signal from LightSail 2 is a tracking pass over the Cal Poly tracking station on orbit 102, currently predicted to extend from 01:26:12 – 01:38:48 PDT. The following three tracking passes during the subsequent four orbits will be over the Kauai Community College tracking station.