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SCI/TECH: Solar Sail Spacecraft Blasts Off

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posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 04:21 PM
A privately funded solar sail spacecraft has been launched from underwater aboard a modified missile from a Russian Navy submarine in the Barents Sea. The Cosmos-1 mission will be used to demonstrate this excellent new way to power inter-planetary probes.
The sail reflects particles of light, or photons, from the Sun, gaining momentum in the opposite direction and driving the spacecraft forward.

Mission operations personnel monitoring the spacecraft from the Planetary Society's office in Pasadena cheered as they got word from mission operations in Moscow of the rocket's take-off just after 2045 BST.

"Cosmos-1 is a short-term, modest mission that simply intends to prove the concept - that solar sailing is possible," The Planetary Society's Amir Alexander told the BBC.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

If solar sail probes are proved to be as cheap as scientists say they will this could be a huge leap forward in space exploration.

All sorts of inter-planetary probes could use this method of transportation and we could soon be sending new probes to every planet in our solar system.

Im sure it would have made the Mars rover missions a hell of alot cheaper!

Link To ATS Thread On This Subject!

[edit on 21/6/2005 by MickeyDee]

posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 05:31 PM
Just heard that it has failed on Sky News! Ill update this if i hear more!

posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 05:35 PM
Ubfortunately from your own source. it looks like it may have failed and that they are waiting for news themselves to see what happened.

A solar sail spacecraft designed to use light from the Sun to travel through space may not have separated from its booster rocket, officials have said.

posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 08:21 PM
I am so bummed.

It seems to have failed.
AN ATTEMPT to launch a spacecraft propelled by sunlight was reported to have failed last night when the booster rocket broke down shortly after lift-off in the Barents Sea.

The launch of Cosmos 1 was part of a joint Russian-American attempt at the first controlled flight using a solar sail. An official in Russia’s Northern Fleet told the RIA-Novosti news agency that the engine had failed 83 seconds after the launch from a submerged Russian submarine.

The official said that a search was under way for the solar sail and the Volna booster rocket.

posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 08:33 PM
im all for the joint Russian-American stuff but the us has to relie on russia
to keep up the space staion and stuff like this. the us spends how manty billlons of dollers a year, and now privet comanies are thair almost
beside them

why dont we get more for what we pay for out of nasa?

posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 09:07 PM
Because NASA is a government agency that has to go by government oversight, and beurocratic rules, that private companies don't have to deal with as much. If NASA was privatized I would bet we would see a lot of improvements, with the right manager in charge. It wouldn't be a quick fix, but I bet you would see changes. The big thing now is that they're so desperate for results and successes they don't care how they get them or if it puts people in danger. It came out that there were serious concerns about Columbia on reentry, but they were ignored because of management pressure.

posted on Jun, 21 2005 @ 11:28 PM
According to the article linked above, The Planetary Society sponsored this mission. NASA did not provide funds to my knowledge. As far as space missions go, I believe 100 million is cheap for NASA and only $4 million would be like putting a mission together with shoelaces and glue for NASA. Four million dollars is a huge sum of money for a member supported organization like The Planetary Society to come up with considering I believe they only have between 100,000 to 200,000 members worldwide. Apparently they succeeded in getting some large donations or corporations to help.

I applaud The Planetary Society and the Russians for the effort. I wish it would have worked. I believe the sail will work if it ever gets to orbit. I think it's amazing what a small membership supported organization such as The Planetary Society can do.

I've been supporting them and their goals just by being a member.

posted on Jun, 22 2005 @ 12:02 AM

There seems to be a chance that it's NOT a dead mission.
Could be wishful thinking, but read this:

Jun 21, 2005 | 21:41 PDT | Jun 22 04:41 UTC
"We have a live spacecraft..."

...we think.

We got spacecraft telemetry data from Kamchatka. We feel reasonably confident that what we saw was real signal. In going back through the Majuro data, Viktor reported this afternoon that we now think we got about 10 seconds of data from that pass. And that 10 seconds of data is consistent enough with the stuff from Kamchatka that we're pretty sure that Viktor saw something that originated from Cosmos 1. Panska Ves also reportedly saw some similar kind of data, with similar kinds of paterns.

Read the rest of the blog here

[edit on 22-6-2005 by spacedoubt]

posted on Jun, 22 2005 @ 12:07 AM
I´ve just updated my thread with this:

Cosmos 1 might be in space!

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.

posted on Jun, 22 2005 @ 05:35 AM

Originally posted by orionthehunter
Four million dollars is a huge sum of money for a member supported organization like The Planetary Society to come up with considering I believe they only have between 100,000 to 200,000 members worldwide. Apparently they succeeded in getting some large donations or corporations to help.

If 50,00 members donated $100 that would be $5M. Doesn't seem like such a difficult goal to raise the money and try again (with a better launch vehicle of course

I'm not rich and I'm not a member of the organization, but I would be more than willing to put up some money if they want to try again. Assuming that this first launch was a total failure. The above posts seem to suggest it's may not be lost after all.

posted on Jun, 22 2005 @ 06:01 AM
Found this at New Scientist

The first sign of a problem was that “some launch vehicle and spacecraft telemetry data gave ambiguous information during the launch”, according to the Planetary Society.

However, data was received that the Cosmos 1 had fired its engines in an attempt to enter the intended orbit. This suggests at least that the craft separated from the launch vehicle, unlike during a previous attempt in 2001. And reports that weak signals received by tracking stations in the Pacific Ocean, Russia and the Czech Republic appear to show that Cosmos 1 made it into orbit.

Keep your fingers crossed.

posted on Jun, 22 2005 @ 08:24 AM
it makes me wonder ???

~wasn't the launch vehicle, one of those Russian Hi-Tech/state-of-the-art
submarine-launched missles...(which were poised to deliver MIRVs on the USA) ??

~i think maybe the program directors should shop around
for a reliable launch vehicle, next time -if there is a next time

there are Japan, India, France, even China (after 1990s technology transfer) who are capable of a orbital insertion.

a bargain basement cost of the launch vehicle
should have been a red-flag warning - & not a pie-in-the-sky- delusion!

liv & learn, eh

posted on Jun, 22 2005 @ 10:14 AM
St Udio, I don't believe there was a problem with the launch vehicle itself...the craft did launch from the sub successfully. The problem seems to have been with the booster rocket according to some sources. Although right now it appears nobody knows what is going on.

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