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Solar Sail Blog

Published by Robin on Tue Jun 21, 2005 10:42 pm
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The Planetary Society’s Cosmos 1 Weblog by Emily Lakdawalla
Bringing you Solar Sail Mission Events As They Happen!

Jun 21, 2005 | 16:15 PDT | 23:15 UTC
Launch plus 3 hours 29min

There’s not going to be any new information for a while.

It is now past 3 am in Moscow, and people are exhausted. Lou has hung up the phone with us. Over there, they switched from a nominal mode of operation to one in which they will search for the spacecraft every chance they get, the next one being at about 02:39:54 UT (19:39:54 here). During that search, they’ll also send a command to the spacecraft to talk. But since no station has detected the spacecraft since Petropavlovsk, and Strategic Command has not detected it either, we don’t know where the spacecraft is. Again, given the lack of detection by Strategic Command the two most likely scenarios at this point are failure to enter orbit at all, or entry into an unexpected orbit. If we don’t know where the spacecraft is, we don’t know where the radio antennas should be pointed and when they should be listening, which could make it a long search. Hours, days, maybe even a week. We don’t know.

In any event, there is not likely to be any new information for a couple of hours. For those of you who have been following my entries, I thank you, and thank you also for the messages of support and hope that have been coming in. I wish I had had more exciting news to share with you. I will certainly tell you more news once I hear anything. I still hope that we may hear something good. Whatever I hear, I’ll tell you. But I will probably be silent for a couple of hours.

Jun 21, 2005 | 16:00 PDT | 23:00 UTC
Launch plus 3 hours 14 min

Planetary Society official statement

The Cosmos 1 spacecraft was launched today but we cannot, at this time, confirm a successful orbit injection. Some launch vehicle and spacecraft telemetry data gave ambiguous information during the launch. Since the orbit insertion burn, no signal has been received from the spacecraft. There are continuing efforts to receive a signal from the spacecraft.

Updates and earlier entries at The Planetary Society’s Cosmos 1 Weblog, including this from Launch plus 2 hours 20 min:

“We’ve heard nothing and we know nothing,” Lou says.

Bruce Murray: “Negative news is not good news. On the other hand we do not have direct evidence for failure. This is not what we’d hoped to have happen.”

Annie Druyan: “I may know now why this mission was so affordable.” [That was a joke, but a dark one, given how little we know at this point.] “The way to the stars is hard. Ad astra, per aspera — to the stars, through hard work.”

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