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Thread: Discussion: Launch Date Set for Solar Sail

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    SUMMARY: The countdown has begun for the launch of the Planetary Society's Cosmos 1 spacecraft; the first ever to be powered by a solar sail. The privately built spacecraft will be lofted into orbit atop a Volna rocket on March 1, 2005. Once Cosmos 1 is in orbit, it will unfurl 8 triangular solar sails, and then use the sails to propel the spacecraft through the pressure of light from the Sun. Cosmos 1 wasn't designed for a long-term trip into space, so it's likely not to last too much longer than a few weeks, or months at the most, but it should serve as a working concept to help designers plan future spacecraft.

    What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    This is an interesting concept for travel in the planetary system.

    Planetary Society is to be commended for undertaking this project.

    With kind regards,


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    As someone with no academic background in the subjects of astronomy, physics or high math, I, like so many others, feel indebted to Carl Sagan for reaching out to the masses and exciting us about the beauty of space. My hat is off to Ann Druyan, Louis Friedman and everyone else who has endeavored to make Cosmos 1 happen. There are thousands of people out here like me who take the initiative to read and discuss your work, even if it doesn't make the 6 o'clock news. Your achievements are an inspiration.

    Buona Fortuna!
    John Polatz
    Monza, Italy

  4. #4
    Planetwatcher Guest
    Is this the same sail we discussed a couple different times earlier this year?
    Or is somebody else putting one up too?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    There was an earlier attempt to launch a smaller prototype of this sail, but the launch failed when the upper stage of the Russian rocket failed to ignite. Could that be what you are thinking of?

  6. #6
    Planetwatcher Guest
    Perhaps. But I thought it was the USA that was putting it up. However, I could be mistaken.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    It'll be interesting to see if it actually works because unless there's a momentum exchange between the photons and the sail then it's just going to sit there being a nice big reflecting mirror. This isn't my idea but paraphrasing something I read in (I think) New Scientist on line which sounded rather logical.

  8. #8
    Guest Guest
    Watch this one

    launch tomorrow! :P

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Anyone know how big it will look, will it be like the ISS or just like an iridium flare ?

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