Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
The Planetary Society continues to investigate the mystery of what happened to its Cosmos 1 spacecraft - a joint project with Cosmos Studios - that launched last week on a Russian Volna rocket.
The word failure is sticking in my craw. Certainly, we failed to achieve the objective of Cosmos 1: we did not achieve solar-sail flight. But I don’t think, with all we have done, that I can call Cosmos 1 a failure.
We’ve had a very exciting day here in Moscow. Bud Schurmeier and I met with Konstantin Pichkhadze, head of the Lavochkin Association, which built our spacecraft, Cosmos 1.
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.
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.
When Cosmos 1, the first solar sail spacecraft, launches on June 21, 2005, it will carry into Earth orbit a CD containing the names of over 75,000 members of The Planetary Society and the Japan Planetary Society, along with the works of early visionaries who inspired solar sailing.
Rehearsals don't always go so well, which is the whole point of rehearsals. That was true both for us and for the Russians today, in separate simulations of mission operations.
Yesterday, we sent out an invitation to print, TV, and Web media for the launch event we'll be holding at our Pasadena headquarters on Tuesday. So today, the buzz really began about our mission, and the phones are beginning to ring off the hook.
The world’s first solar sail spacecraft, Cosmos 1, is now mated to its Volna launch vehicle and ready for its ride into space.
Here at Cosmos 1 Project Operations Pasadena -- or POP -- we are scrambling to get our mission operations plans and procedures ready for our launch, just 11 days from now.
From Moscow to the Marshall Islands and California to the Czech Republic, tracking stations around the world will receive data from Cosmos 1, the world's first solar sail spacecraft after it launches on June 21, 2005.
The biggest reason that NASA—as well as other western space agencies—has not attempted a solar sail flight is that the cost of launching even a small spacecraft is so high that they are unwilling to carry out a mission with very modest goals.