The Planetary Society has announced that its $4,000,000 Cosmos 1 solar-sail powered spacecraft has ended in failure.
As we have been reporting on Slice of SciFi’s “Sci-Fi to Sci-Fact” segment, The Planetary Society beat NASA to the launchpad for the historical launching of the first spacecraft to be powered by a solar-sail.
However, Dr. Louis Friedman, project director, has confirmed that the craft’s booster rockets failed just 83 seconds into the launch from a Russian submarine. Preliminary data indicates that the boosters never separated from the craft and possibly went down somewhere near Novaya Zemlya, the archiepelago that divides the Barents Sea from the Kara Sea. “We have no regrets over what happened,” said Bruce Murray, cofounder of The Planetary Society. “We’ve learned a lot and think we’ve shown what can be possible and what might be able to be done.”
While all involved still hold out hope that the craft made it to the orbital level, that hope is starting to fade as each hour passes with no confirmed signal from the Cosmos 1. Data continues to be shared between the Society and the Russian ground crews and it is still being analyzed at the date of this report.
Despite the Cosmos’ failure, NASA continues with its own efforts at this promising solar-sail technology.
Source: The Planetary Society and NASA