It's definite now: Solar sail spacecraft lost

Jun 22, 2005

A solar sail spacecraft failed to reach orbit because of an apparent booster rocket problem, Roskosmos, the Russian space agency said Wednesday.

The unmanned spacecraft, called Cosmos 1, was launched at 3:46 p.m. EDT Tuesday aboard a Volna rocket, Roskosmos said, from a Russian submarine in the Barents Sea. But 83 seconds after the launch, the craft experienced a spontaneous shutdown of the first stage rocket engine.

The spacecraft with eight triangular sail blades, each 16.5 yards long, was built under a contract with the U.S. Planetary Society. Scientists planned to study the possibility of using a solar sail as a traction system and as a way to control the spacecraft during its orbit flight.

An attempt in 2001 to test a spacecraft with two sail blades also failed, because the craft failed to deploy from its booster rocket.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Short, sharp shocks let slip the stories of supernovae

Related Stories

LightSail team prepares for tests of mylar space wonder

May 11, 2015

The concept of LightSail—spacecraft designed to propel through space on beams of sunlight— pushed through by nothing but the pressure of sunlight—has been around for years but this month made special ...

Successful SpaceX escape test 'bodes well for future'

May 07, 2015

SpaceX's Dragon capsule sailed through the first flight test of its emergency astronaut escape feature Wednesday, a critical step toward launching people into space from US soil in the next two years.

What can we do with unwanted satellites?

Apr 30, 2015

There are thousands of satellites in Earth orbit, of varying age and usefulness. At some point they reach the end of their lives, at which point they become floating junk. What do we do with them then?

Recommended for you

How bad can solar storms get?

May 22, 2015

Our sun regularly pelts the Earth with all kinds of radiation and charged particles. How bad can these solar storms get?

Mars rover's ChemCam instrument gets sharper vision

May 22, 2015

NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover's "ChemCam" instrument just got a major capability fix, as Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists uploaded a software repair for the auto-focus system on the instrument.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.