Friday, December 30, 2005

The Planetary Society Still Aims for Solar Sail Success

All things being equal, The Planetary Society , a non-profit, non-governmental organization with more than 100,000 members, has just as much chance of successfully launching and deploying the first solar sail spacecraft as NASA does of successfully returning the shuttle to orbit.
Yes, that's a good chance.

Its Cosmos 1 solar sail, while unsuccessful, was still declared one of the most innovative ideas of 2005 by The New York Times. The probe, a suborbital, two-bladed test spacecraft was launched atop a Volna rocket on June 21, 2005 from the submarine Borisoglebsk of the Russian Northern Fleet. The first stage of the rocket failed to fire properly and the vehicle, plus cargo, crashed into the sea.
Society members say they won't fly with Volna again, but they will continue with their mission to launch the first solar sail.

Currently the society is seeking a corporate or private sponsor to fund the $4 million price tag for a new solar sail. It remains to be seen where that money will come from, but one thing is certain, these people are not going to give up without a fight....

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