Cosmos 1 Solar Sail Test Flight Launches As Planned

For Immediate Release
20 Jul 2001

Mat Kaplan
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

The sub-orbital test of Cosmos 1, The Planetary Society and Cosmos Studios' solar sail project, launched as planned yesterday from the Russian submarine, Borisoglebsk, in the Barents Sea. Cosmos 1 launched right on schedule, Friday, July 20, at 4:33 AM (Moscow time), which was Thursday, July 19, 5:33 PM (U.S. PDT), and flew on its correct trajectory.

There has been some speculation that the spacecraft and capsule may not have separated from the upper stage of the rocket, but this has not been confirmed by the project team.

"We don't know what happened yet," said Viktor Kudryashov, Solar Sail Project Manager at Babakin Space Center. "We will have to examine all data next week."

The sub-orbital flight was to test the deployment of two solar sail blades. Two cameras on board the capsule were designed to photograph the deployment, and the enclosed images and data would be sent back to Earth in the recovery capsule to be retrieved from the Kamchatka peninsula.

"We had hoped to get a signal from the re-entry capsule immediately -- but that did not happen. We still hope to find it and recover data within a few days if the capusle landed safely," said Dr. Louis Friedman, Cosmos 1 Project Director and Executive Director of The Planetary Society.

"Whatever the final outcome," Friedman added, "this mission -- the launch from the submarine and the cooperation with our partners in Russia -- is a great step forward and accomplishment for The Planetary Society and Cosmos Studios. The flight is already a success in two areas: we are the first space interest group to send a mission into space, and a brand new media company, Cosmos Studios, sponsored the launch."

Results from this flight will not be available for a few days. As of this time, the science team is looking for the capsule. The data from this flight will be used to build and launch the Cosmos 1 solar sail orbital flight later this year.

Cosmos Studios and A&E Networks sponsor Cosmos 1.

About The Planetary Society

The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. With the mission to empower the world's citizens to advance space science and exploration, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society in 1980. Bill Nye, a longtime member of The Planetary Society's Board, serves as CEO.