Switching your ISS-Above into a LightSail-Above

You can now configure your ISS-Above device to track The Planetary Society’s LightSail instead of the International Space Station (version 2.261 and above)

LightSail® is a crowdfunded solar sail project from The Planetary Society.

The LightSail 2 spacecraft, launched on 24 June 2019, aims to become the first spacecraft in Earth orbit propelled solely by sunlight. The goal is to raise LightSail 2's orbit by a measurable amount, showing that solar sailing is a viable means of propulsion for CubeSats-small, standardized spacecraft that are part of a global effort to lower the cost of space exploration.

Read more about the LightSail-2

One of the very best podcast’s on the Internet is Planetary Radio hosted by Mat Kaplan. The July 3rd edition covers the launch of LightSail in glorious detail and even gives a shout-out to ISS-Above/LightSail-Above.

You can configure your ISS-Above device to track the LightSail instead of the International Space Station (ONLY IF your Latitude is between 50° N and 50° S - see FAQ below)

This option will convert your ISS-Above in to a whole new product featuring news / information / photos and videos all about the LightSail-2.

Note: While your device is configured as a LightSail-Above you will not see any live video from the ISS. All the information is purely related to the LightSail mission.

OF COURSE: You can always switch back your device to being an awesome ISS-Above at any time

A Little History on why I’ve developed this capability.

I’ve been involved with, and a supporter (member) of The Planetary Society (TPS) for more than 10 years. Bill Nye (CEO of TPS) purchased an ISS-Above very soon after my first KickStarter in 2014. You will find them installed at their offices in Pasadena.

When LightSail 1 launched in 2015 it seemed an obvious fit to customize ISS-Above to also work to track their first test CubeSat.

After that successful test I was invited to provide ISS-Above’s (LightSail-Above’s) as part of the society’s Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign to support the fundraising for LightSail-2.

So this version is a fulfillment of that promise.


I’m an ISS-Above customer - how do I switch my device to instead track LightSail-2?

This is accomplished via your ISS-Above web admin system.

Look for the IP address displayed in the lower left of your TV screen. In the above image carousel you will see the IP address is shown as YOUR IP address WILL BE DIFFERENT.

To switch to LightSail mode you would type the following in to your browser (remember YOUR IP ADDRESS WILL BE DIFFERENT)

Just click on the “Switch to LightSail-Above” button at the bottom of that web page.

That’s all there is to it!

What’s this about not being able to switch to LightSail-Above if I live above 50° N or below 50° S?

Due to the very shallow orbit of the LightSail (23°) as compared with the ISS (51.6°) - the LightSail NEVER rises above your horizon if you live above 50° N or S.

That means anyone who lives in the UK or parts of Europe / all of Scandinavia and parts of Russia and Alaska and much of Canada are out of luck as far as the LighSail-Above functionality.

USA is fine - as is Australia/New Zealand.. also the whole of Africa and most of all of South America except the very bottom bit.

If you don’t know your latitude or have any questions about this - send me an email to support@issabove.com (and let me know your city/country)

Unfortunately the CORE purpose of the ISS-Above code base is to keep track of whenever the ISS (or LightSail) is ABOVE your horizon. If it never gets to BE above your horizon my code would just blow up in a puff of smoke (well.. not really… but you get the idea).

Please use The Planetary Society’s LightSail Dashboard instead.

My ISS-Above version is lower than 2.261 - how do I get the correct version?

I am currently running a beta test of the new version - but will likely release the new version by July 10th at the latest. If you want to join the beta testing group send an email to support@issabove.com