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Two Space Vehicles To Be Launched From Submarine

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posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 05:21 PM

"Jun 21, 2005 | 15:13 PDT | 22:13 UTC
Launch plus 2 hours 28 min

So what does this mean?

What this means is that we've still got a couple good news pieces -- data from the spacecraft -- but we have bad news data -- no tracking from Space Comm. We just don't know. It's frustrating.

What's making it harder to say anything is the fact that we have some data that's conflicting. There was some data that was received from the launch vehicle about 200-250 seconds after the launch. After that, there may have been something wrong with it, or some ambiguity in it. But what that ambiguity is, we don't understand -- because the only information on it came via cell phone from the Navy Severomorsk. No one here or in Moscow has seen what that data looks like.

Then there's this other data, the Doppler data that we got from Kamchatka. The data came both before the orbit insertion burn, and during the burn. That data indicates that the spacecraft was working at least partially properly at that time -- which is awfully confusing if there was a launch vehicle problem.

Actually, if it turns out that there was something wrong, that Kamchatka data will be immensely valuable. And at least the worst conceiveable outcome HAS NOT happened -- the spacecraft WAS heard from over Kamchatka. Some data is way better than no data.

On the other hand, there's that lack of detection by Space Command. At a minimum, that means that the spacecraft was not where Space Command expected it to be, which is a big worry. There are two possibilities. Either the orbit is not the nominal one -- it's not in the right place, but it is in AN orbit -- or it didn't go into orbit. The third possibility is that Space Command messed up, but that's less likely than the other two. We have absolutely no idea which of those possibilities is true."

edit: the data was edited on the weblog page. I´ve updated with the most recent data (text).

[edit on 2005/6/21 by Hellmutt]

posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 05:32 PM
Breaking news on Sky that the solar sail has failed!

Waiting for more info!

posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 05:35 PM
Update from the weblog again:

"Jun 21, 2005 | 15:31 PDT | 22:31 UTC
Launch plus 2 hours 45 min

Too much noise, not enough analysis

That about sums it up.

There was an interesting question just asked at the press conference: What were we most worried about? Bruce answered that the sail deployment was the most worrisome moment in this mission, and I actually always felt the same way. We just were not that worried about the launch vehicle. We were a little worried about the orbit insertion burn, but not the launch vehicle -- we were pretty confident about that. So if we did have a launch vehicle "anomaly," (that is, if something went wrong with the launch vehicle), then we will be surprised and dismayed about that.

Still, though, no analysis. No surety. We just don't know anything for sure. There's only lots of speculation."

posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 05:42 PM
Another update:

"Jun 21, 2005 | 15:43 PDT | 22:43 UTC
Launch plus 2 hours 57 min

What the Doppler data says doesn't say anything for sure. It does look like there is at least something in there that indicates that something started nominally. That is, it looked smooth, and then it looked the velocity was increasing as expected, and then all of a sudden it goes noisy.

Now, "noise" is actually a real technical term. "Noise" means that the data looks scruffy and rough. There's no clear pattern to it. Patterns represent information. Lack of pattern represents lack of information. Now, there could be a pattern in that data that we just don't understand yet. Once that pattern comes into focus, it should tell us something about what was going on with the spacecraft. We'll keep analyzing. Moscow will too.

Also, I hasten to add that what looks like "noise" now isn't necessarily bad. The rocket was probably firing during that noisy period, and that alone could have made the data noisy."

posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 05:48 PM
Yet another update:

"Jun 21, 2005 | 15:43 PDT | 22:43 UTC
Launch plus 2 hours 57 min

So, how do you feel?

Another good question, and a good answer from Lou: that he was not feeling anything yet, or at least trying not to. We don't know what to feel. Annie says she feels numb. As for me, I feel very detached. I feel like a pipe through which information is flowing. What does the pipe feel?

I think it's hard to know what to feel when we just don't know what happened. If it was a launch vehicle failure, we'd be, well, annoyed, because we never got to test what we were trying to test. If it was something on our spacecraft, then we failed doing what we were trying to do. And in space exploration, that's noble. Space exploration is risky. It's hard. And actually, let me say here that I feel like we need to take on more risk than we have been in space exploration. The public doesn't like risk, and they hate failure. But failures happen. They shouldn't happen for stupid reasons. But if they happen when you were trying something risky, you learn. That teaches you something. At least it should. And you try harder next time.

But it may not have failed!! Don't forget that. We haven't given up hope yet.

In a few hours, there will be major efforts made to communicate with the spacecraft when it is supposed to pass over Panska Ves."

posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 05:59 PM
"Jun 21, 2005 | 16:00 PDT | 23:00 UTC
Launch plus 3 hours 14 min

Planetary Society official statement

The Cosmos 1 spacecraft was launched today but we cannot, at this time, confirm a successful orbit injection. Some launch vehicle and spacecraft telemetry data gave ambiguous information during the launch. Since the orbit insertion burn, no signal has been received from the spacecraft. There are continuing efforts to receive a signal from the spacecraft."

posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 06:20 PM
"Jun 21, 2005 | 16:15 PDT | 23:15 UTC
Launch plus 3 hours 29min

There's not going to be any new information for a while.

It is now past 3 am in Moscow, and people are exhausted. Lou has hung up the phone with us. Over there, they switched from a nominal mode of operation to one in which they will search for the spacecraft every chance they get, the next one being at about 02:39:54 UT (19:39:54 here). During that search, they'll also send a command to the spacecraft to talk. But since no station has detected the spacecraft since Petropavlovsk, and Strategic Command has not detected it either, we don't know where the spacecraft is. Again, given the lack of detection by Strategic Command the two most likely scenarios at this point are failure to enter orbit at all, or entry into an unexpected orbit. If we don't know where the spacecraft is, we don't know where the radio antennas should be pointed and when they should be listening, which could make it a long search. Hours, days, maybe even a week. We don't know.

In any event, there is not likely to be any new information for a couple of hours. For those of you who have been following my entries, I thank you, and thank you also for the messages of support and hope that have been coming in. I wish I had had more exciting news to share with you. I will certainly tell you more news once I hear anything. I still hope that we may hear something good. Whatever I hear, I'll tell you. But I will probably be silent for a couple of hours."

posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 06:29 PM
One thing is that they say they don´t know where the spacecraft is...
...but another thing I just realized:

There might be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) up there somewhere right now... And they say they don´t know where it is!

posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 10:57 PM
Yesterday they had another failure with another rocket.

ITAR-TASS: Booster rocket Molniya-1 failed to deploy military satellite into orbit owing to a breakdown


The booster rocket Molniya-1 has failed to deploy a military satellite into a designated orbit owing to a breakdown, a Russian Defence Ministry official has told Itar-Tass.

The rocket's liftoff was normal, with the launch complex functioning irreproachably. After the 6th minute of the rocket's flight, the third-stage engine went off under abnormal conditions.

RIA Novosti: Molniya rocket crash will not cancel solar sail launch -- Defense Ministry

The failure of a Molniya carrier rocket launched from Russia's Plisetsk Space Center on Tuesday to orbit a military satellite will not delay the launch from a Russian submarine of a unique spacecraft, Kosmos-1, which is equipped with a "solar sail".

An attempt to launch a similar spacecraft from a submarine in the Barents Sea in summer 2001 ended in failure, as was the case with a previous attempt in the spring of the same year.

MosNews: Russian Space Rocket Crashes in Siberia, Satellite Fails to Reach Orbit

[edit on 2005/6/21 by Hellmutt]

posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 11:47 PM
Cosmos 1 might have made it into orbit after all. But quite possibly not in the orbit it was intended for.

The Planetary Society: Solar Sail Latest Updates
- Tracking Station Data Suggest Cosmos 1 in Orbit

Close reviews of telemetry data received at several ground stations appear to reveal weak signals from the Cosmos 1 during the first hours after the launch. The two signals were discovered independently at the Majuro portable station and the permanent station at Panska Ves through a close analysis of the data collected by the receivers around the time of the expected contact with the spacecraft.

According to Cosmos 1 Mission Operations Manager Jim Cantrell, and Planetary Society Chairman of the Board Bruce Murray, this is a strong indication that Cosmos 1 did make it into orbit around the Earth, though quite possibly not the orbit it was intended for.

In an official statement released at this time The Planetary Society said: We continue to search for the Cosmos 1 spacecraft. We have reviewed our telemetry recordings and have found what we believe are spacecraft signals in the data recorded at the tracking stations in Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka and Majuro, Marshall Islands. The review of data received at the tracking station in Panska Ves, Czech Republic also appears to indicate a spacecraft signal. If confirmed, these data will indicate that Cosmos 1 made it to orbit. We will continue to monitor planned telemetry sessions and will be working with U.S. STRATCOM (Strategic Command) to locate Cosmos 1.

[edit on 2005/6/22 by Hellmutt]


posted on Jun, 22 2005 @ 12:12 AM
when some space agency other than NASA launches a revolutionary mission for space history, it fails. not because other space agencies are incapable. this is a basic orbit launch for gods sake, the fact that it is launched from a sub doesnt make it any difficult for the current techology.

and to my knowledge if it was orbiting earth from pole to pole it wouldnt have to go much more faster than if it was parrallel to equator.

I was waiting for this for a long time.

posted on Jun, 22 2005 @ 02:25 AM
from the Solar Sail Latest Updates:

11:45 pm PDT (6:45 UTC, June 22):

Update From Moscow

Project Director Louis Friedman cautioned that some data point to a launch vehicle misfiring, one that would prevent the spacecraft from achieving orbit. He said, “That the weak signals were recorded at the expected times of spacecraft passes over the ground stations is encouraging, but in no way are they conclusive enough for us to be sure that they came from Cosmos 1 working in orbit.” The Russian space agency indicated that the Volna rocket may have had a problem during its first or second stage firing. “This,” Friedman noted, “would almost certainly have prevented the spacecraft from reaching the correct orbit.”

[edit on 22-6-2005 by Oblomov]

[edit on 22-6-2005 by Oblomov]

posted on Jun, 22 2005 @ 04:58 AM
Update from the Planetary Society's Cosmos 1 Weblog:

Jun 21, 2005 | 22:05 PDT | Jun 22 05:05 UTC

What happened this afternoon:

So, it may be clear to you by now that some of this information began to come in much earlier this afternoon. We got a phone call from Viktor Kerzhanovich, who was our guy in Majuro, at maybe around 4 this afternoon local time, saying that he thought he might have seen some signal. But he wasn't sure. Being in a remote location, he had to get the data onto a memory stick and drive it to another computer and then email it to us, which took some time. I relayed the data to Russia as the guys here started scratching their heads about it. It was really sketchy. And as Jim has said to the press just now, if this was all we had, we would not be sounding very hopeful about the mission right now. It was not enough of a lead for us to talk about publlicly, because it was so questionable.

But as the guys started making some sense of the Majuro data, the sense that they were getting was consistent with the sense they were getting out of the Petropavlovsk data. Which was Really Good News. Individually, both data sets were rather sketchy, but together they began to make a consistent story.

In the meantime, once we had told Lou about the Majuro data, he replied that the Russians were thinking that maybe they had some kind of marginal contact with Panska Ves. Which, if true, is Tremendously Good News. If Cosmos 1 made it all the way around the southern end of the Earth and back up, across the equator, to Panska Ves, that means that it has to be in orbit, and not crashed somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

Just to close, here is a map of what we expected the ground track to be (white line) on Cosmos 1's first orbit. You can see where it was expected to go. How far it may have been from that line we just don't know. But we're feeling much better now that it may still be up there somewhere.

(Oblomov: If you want to see the map, just follow the link in the beginning)

So we hope. And we'll look again tomorrow. Between now and then -- we sleep. My next update will be posted some time after 08:00 PDT / 15:00 UT. Goodnight and thanks for reading.

posted on Jun, 22 2005 @ 01:59 PM

"10:30 am PDT, June 22 (17:30 UTC)

The Planetary Society as issued the following statement on the fate of Cosmos 1, the first Solar Sail Spacecraft:

In the past twenty-four hours, the Russian space agency (RKA) has made a tentative conclusion that the Volna rocket carrying Cosmos 1 failed during the firing of the first stage. This would mean that Cosmos 1 is lost.

While it is likely that this conclusion is correct, there are some inconsistent indications from information received from other sources. The Cosmos 1 team observed what appear to be signals, that looks like they are from the spacecraft when it was over the first three ground stations and some Doppler data over one of these stations. This might indicate that Cosmos 1 made it into orbit, but probably a lower one than intended. The project team now considers this to be a very small probability. But because there is a slim chance that it might be so, efforts to contact and track the spacecraft continue. We are working with US Strategic Command to provide additional information in a day or so.

If the spacecraft made it to orbit, its autonomous program might be working, and after 4 days the sails could automatically deploy. While the chances of this are very, very small, we still encourage optical observers to see if the sail can be seen after that time.

We await further developments and information coming out of Russia, STRATCOM, and the tracking stations."

posted on Jun, 23 2005 @ 02:30 AM
Update from the Planetary Society's Cosmos 1 Weblog:

Jun 22, 2005 | 19:12 PDT | Jun 23 02:12 UTC

Scattering to the winds

With failure of Cosmos 1 virtually certain, the team members that have been staffing Project Operations Pasadena have elected to return to their homes. Thanks to the Internet, if our spacecraft miraculously reappears, each of us will still be able to keep watch over the mission from our individual remote locations. Greg returns to Berkeley, Jim and Brent to Utah, and Paul to his usual life at the Jet Propulsion Lab, just up the valley from Pasadena. Lou will be returning from Moscow in a couple of days. I took off for home a couple of hours ago in order to begin to catch up on sleep.

The team may be scattering, but it's not over. The search for the spacecraft continues. The search continues in the present, as several observatories have offered to try to look for a signal from the spacecraft. (If you, too, have a spare observatory, feel free to search at a frequency of 401.5275 Hz, but I am afraid that I can't offer any advice on where to point your antenna.) The search also continues into the past, as Strategic Command is working through its "unknown objects bucket" (as Jim called it this morning) to find where the spacecraft and its launch vehicle ended up.

At the Society, we're already talking about what to do next. A few hours ago, Bill Nye -- the Science Guy, and also the Vice-President of The Planetary Society -- asked all of the staff to gather together in the living room of the 100-year-old house in which we work. He opened and poured champagne for all of us, and we raised several toasts. We toasted Cosmos 1, first of all; it was an audacious dream, that we arrogantly compared to the flight of the Wright Brothers. We toasted Lou Friedman in absentia, for whom it must have been a pretty rough week. We toasted the staff and volunteers of the Society, for all the work it's taken to bring Cosmos 1 to the world. We toasted Ann Druyan, the chief sponsor of Cosmos 1, for making it possible, and for being the mission's spiritual leader. We toasted our members, for their devotion to our cause and their support. Finally, we toasted: Cosmos 2? Many of our members are telling us they're ready to try again. We can't say whether or not we'll try again with this mission until we find out what really happened. But we'll certainly stay in the business, and try more audacious things, like the Solar Sail, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Mars airplanes, or Venus balloons we've advocated in the past.

posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 03:48 PM
How do we know that they actually "failed" this? Because they said so? This whole lanunch process was very much "in the dark". Data had to be transfered on a memorystick by a guy driving his tractor from a remote location, and so on. Maybe they just hid the "Cosmos 1" somewhere and successfully deployed a military satellite instead? How can we know for sure?

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