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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

New Developments on the Road to Cosmos 2

The Planetary Society and Cosmos Studios remain committed to flying the first flight with light. Our spacecraft, Cosmos 2, is a maneuverable solar sail that may be the precursor to a new mode of interplanetary travel, and could one day take us to the stars.

Cosmos 2

A letter from the Executive Director to the members and supporters of The Planetary Society.

Making Light Work

Professional Pilot Magazine asked me to contribute a prediction about the future of flight for the next century. Naturally, I wrote about solar sailing.

Update: Monitoring the Weather?

The bigger the dream, the harder it is to achieve it. Our dream at The Planetary Society is to fly the first solar sail mission -- and prove the technology that might someday take humanity to the stars.

Update: Getting Started

The Planetary Society solar sail team is working to try again to fly the world’s first solar sail spacecraft.

The End of Cosmos 1, the Beginning of the Next Chapter

Cosmos 1 was—and is—a great effort, and one we are proud The Planetary Society tried to do. Our independent grassroots organization built and launched a spacecraft whose technology promises to one day open up interstellar travel.

Volna Failure Review Board Reports on Loss of Cosmos 1

The Volna Failure Review Board convened by the Makeev Rocket Design Bureau, manufacturers of the Volna launch vehicle, has made its final report to the Russian space agency, Roskosmos, concerning the attempted June 21 launch of our Cosmos 1 spacecraft.

The Story of Cosmos 1 is Not Over: A Personal Report

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.

Piecing the Data Together

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.

Final Words Before Launch

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.

Launching Cosmos 1 on a Soviet ICBM

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.

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