Speaking by phone to a roomful of journalists in Pasadena less than 2 hours before the expected launch, project director Louis Friedman reiterated his confidence in the entire Cosmos 1 team. "Everything seems OK and ready for the launch" said Friedman. "Some of us are nervous and have butterflies," he conceded, "but we have a very professional and experienced team here." All that remains now is to wait.
Contrary to earlier reports, the submarine carrying Cosmos 1, the Delta III class (NATO designation) submarine Borisoglebsk, has already left harbor yesterday. It is now in position and waiting for the exact launch time.
"The weather in Moscow is terrible," Friedman said. "It's been raining for 24 hours, and feels more like winter than summer." "I hope it is a harbinger of good things to come" he added.
Reflecting on the broader meaning of the mission, Friedman said he viewed it as two experiments. One is the scientific and technological experiment demonstrating the practicability of solar sailing. A successful mission will open the door to solar sails being used for rendezvous missions with comets, sample return missions to Mercury and Venus, and a solar sail station at the Lagrange point between the Earth and the Sun which will monitor the Solar Wind.
The other is a social experiment -- the ability of a private group of enthusiasts to launch a space mission. All of this will be tested today as Cosmos 1 is launched into orbit.
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