The Planetary Society announced today that the Cosmos 1 test flight will be delayed due to a pre-launch testing accident that damaged the spacecraft. The sub-orbital test flight was scheduled to launch from a Russian Delta III Class submarine in the Barents Sea on April 26 (Moscow time).
The accident occurred during a ground test at Severmosk, the launch port and preparation area near Murmansk, Russia. The test craft arrived there from the Babakin Space Center located near Moscow. The Babakin Center is developing the craft for The Planetary Society.
Preliminary information indicates that the accident occurred when the actual operation sequence of the spacecraft was initiated while the craft was mounted for testing.
"The extent of damage is unknown at this time," said Dr. Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society and Project Director of Cosmos 1. "Though we are disappointed that this accident has caused a delay, we recognize that this is what tests are for. This test occurred on the ground and with our test vehicle and in no way derails our program. In fact, it could help us to avoid more costly problems in the future."
The spacecraft will be returned to the Babakin Space Center where it will undergo checks, repairs, re-assembly and tests. The test flight will then be re-scheduled.
Cosmos 1, the first solar sail, is sponsored by Cosmos Studios. For more information on the Cosmos 1 Solar Sail project, visit The Planetary Society's web or Cosmos Studios website.