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Russian Delta III - Solar Sail

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Postby mike byers » Wed Jun 22, 2005 8:45 am

Cosmos 1 - Mission Timeline

Final Preparations
On May 23, 2005, Cosmos 1 was shipped from Moscow to Severmorsk, near the port city of Murmansk. The spacecraft is being checked out, batteries and pyrotechnic devices are being installed and charged, and the electrical units connecting the spacecraft to the rocket will be put in place. Then, the spacecraft will be placed in the payload area at the tip of the Volna rocket. About three days prior to the launch the rocket will be loaded on the Delta III submarine. The vessel will leave Severmorsk to the designated site half a day before launch time.
Launch!
At launch, the main engine of the first stage of the Volna rocket will burn before shutting down and disengaging from the main body. The second stage will then ignite, burn, and disengage from the third stage, which in turn will separate from the payload compartment after completing its burn. A little more than 6 minutes after shooting up from the submarine, the three-stage Volna rocket will have completed its role in the mission.
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Postby TMSmalley » Wed Jun 22, 2005 3:32 pm

DOH!!! Looks like she didn't work so well...

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Russian Space Agency: Solar Launch Failed By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press Writer


MOSCOW - The world's first solar sail spacecraft crashed back to Earth when its booster rocket failed less than two minutes after Tuesday's takeoff, Russian space officials said Wednesday.

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The Cosmos 1 vehicle, a joint U.S.-Russian project, was intended to show that a so-called solar sail can make a controlled flight. Solar sails, designed to be propelled by pressure from sunlight, are seen as a potential means for achieving interstellar flight, allowing such spacecraft to gradually build up great velocity and cover large distances.

But the Volna booster rocket failed 83 seconds after its launch from a Russian nuclear submarine in the northern Barents Sea just before midnight Tuesday in Moscow, the Russian space agency said.

Its spokesman, Vyacheslav Davidenko, said that "the booster's failure means that the solar sail vehicle was lost." The Russian navy began a search for debris from the booster and the vehicle, he said.

U.S. scientists had said earlier that they possibly had detected signals from Cosmos 1 but cautioned that it could take hours or days to figure out exactly where the $4 million spacecraft was.

The signals were picked up late Tuesday after an all-day search for the spacecraft, which had suddenly stopped communicating after its launch, they said.

"It's good news because we are in orbit — very likely in orbit," Bruce Murray, a co-founder of The Planetary Society, which organized the mission, said before the Russian space agency's announcement.

A government panel will investigate possible reasons behind the failure of the three-stage rocket's first-stage engine, Davidenko said.

Past attempts to unfold similar devices in space have failed.

In 1999, Russia launched a similar experiment with a sun-reflecting device from its Mir space station, but the deployment mechanism jammed and the device burned up in the atmosphere.

In 2001, Russia again attempted a similar experiment, but the device failed to separate from the booster and burned in the atmosphere.

The project involved Russia's Lavochkin research production institute that built the vehicle and was financed by an organization affiliated to the U.S. Planetary Society.

The solar sail vehicle weighed about 242 pounds and was designed to go into an orbit more than 500 miles high. It was designed to be powered by eight 49 1/2-foot-long sail structures resembling the blades of a windmill.

Each blade can be turned to reflect sunlight in different directions so that the craft can "tack," much like a sailboat in the wind.

Controlled flight would have been attempted early next week, and Cosmos 1 was supposed to operate for at least a month.

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