Solar Sail to launch June 21st

This is cool!! It reminds me a bit of the solar sail simulation they had in TRON. Excellent!!

only for Info

Sir Ulli

Im curious to see just how easy this baby is gonna be to find in the sky! :thumbsup:

The Planetary Society’s Cosmos 1 Weblog: Bringing you Solar Sail Mission Events As They Happen!

Jun 14, 2005 | 09:15 PDT | 16:15 UTC
Launch minus 7 days 3 hours 30 min

Rehearsing the Launch

About a dozen people assembled here at POP pretty early in the morning for a simulation of the first hours of the Cosmos 1 mission, due to take place a week from now. These simulations are terribly important because they point out all kinds of logistical issues that need to be solved before launch day. Things like how the phone systems work (or don’t work), how we are going to get word of the precise launch time to the guy who will be manning our temporary ground station out in the Marshall Islands, and stuff like that. One thing we learned pretty quickly was that we must not forget to synchronize our watches, or at least we must all have an accurate and precise UTC (Universal Time Coordinate) clock to refer to.


Sir Ulli

Jun 20, 2005 | 13:25 PDT | 20:25UTC
Launch minus 23 hours 20 min

The clock has just turned over.

Yikes. Less than a day left!

We are almost done with the rounds of TV interviews taking place in the POP room. Soon we’ll lock it down and will be setting our operations into motion.

Here at The Planetary Society, the POP room is going to be in the capable hands of Jim Cantrell, another longtime friend of Lou’s. He’s just arrived from Utah, and is chafing at the bit to get these TV crews out of here and get going with preparations for our last rehearsal. More on that later…

Fingers crosses that all goes well

Sir Ulli

Jun 21, 2005 | 13:32 PDT | 20:32 UTC
Launch plus 0 hours 46 min

Majuro did not receive signal.

Again, this was not wholly unexpected. We have to wait now for the next ground station contact, which is Panska Ves at 21:21:00 UT, about an hour from now.

Jun 21, 2005 | 13:21 PDT | 20:21 UTC
Launch plus 0 hours 35 min

Still nothing at Majuro

Jun 21, 2005 | 13:18 PDT | 20:18 UTC
Launch plus 0 hours 32 min

Little bit of signal at Petropavlovsk

Slava Linkin says Doppler signal was received at beginning, then was lost. That might be connected with the fact that the motor burn was happening at this point.

Jun 21, 2005 | 13:15 PDT | 20:15 UTC
Launch plus 0 hours 31 min

Majuro does not see signal yet

Jun 21, 2005 | 13:11 PDT | 20:11 UTC
Launch plus 0 hours 25 min

Report from Kamchatka is that they did not detect the spacecraft

This isn’t necessarily unexpected. Petropavlovsk was a marginal contact, and it would have been happening while the spacecraft was spinning rapidly and thrusting, not an easy signal to deal with.

We are holding our breaths for the Majuro contact.

Definitely now the time to keep fingers crossed Sir Ulli,
:frowning: As it says, its not unexpected, but it would have been reassuring to get an early signal :xfinger:

all Fingers crossed, that this is going to an Good End

:xfinger: :xfinger: :xfinger:

Sir Ulli

Jun 21, 2005 | 14:47 PDT | 21:47 UTC
Launch plus 2 hours 1 min

No news yet, 2

It’s hard to know what to update when there’s no information. But I know there are a lot of people out there who want to know what’s going on. Please, just be patient. We knew that this was a possibility from the start, though of course we had hoped that we would have those contacts.

Jun 21, 2005 | 14:28 PDT | 21:28 UTC
Launch plus 1 hours 42 min

No news yet

Sorry everybody, I wish I had more info to share with you. We are just waiting and waiting here. The spacecraft should be near Panska Ves and Bear Lakes right now. But even those contacts aren’t the best. The best opportunities are on the 5th and 6th orbits, several hours into the mission. I’ll tell you more as soon as I have anything to say.

Jun 21, 2005 | 14:01 PDT | 21:01 UTC
Launch plus 1 hours 17 min

This from Lou in Moscow:

Here’s what we know and don’t know. Indications are that orbit burn was received over Kamchatka. That data cuts off. This could be normal, related to the rocket firing; or it could indicate an anomaly. This is unknown. We also know that no signal was received at Kamchatka, and we also know that no signal was recieved at Majuro. From here on in, there’s no communication at all wth the spacecraft until it goes over Panska Ves in the Czech Republic. A contingency plan for this is now being put into effect. The Panska Ves, Tarusa, and Bear Lakes stations will send commands to the spacecraft to try to turn it on. So in sum we have some precious data and a lot of silence. We have to wait at least 30 minutes before any possible contact, and possibly longer. It looks like it may be a long night here in Moscow and a long day in Pasadena.

:sigh: News is sounding less promising. Lets hope that theres a safe mode or something that it could have gone into that gives more hope that just waiting for the signal.

It may have said in some of the articles but I cant remember at this time, I think it was susposed to use the sails to gain altitude after deployment. I think the sails were scheduled to open this Saturday (I think). That given, if they don’t get communications restored, how long before it loses altitude and reenters the atmosphere?

:xfinger: all the way here…

Jun 21, 2005 | 15:06 PDT | 22:06 UTC
Launch plus 2 hours 20 min

A press conference now, information should be forthcoming.

There is some telemetry data from the launch phase that doesn’t appear quite right. At the same point, there is this apparent indication of an orbit insertion motor firing at about the right time. But nothing happened after that, except that the data went noisy, and we don’t know.

Jim is reporting now that he’s been talking to Strategic Command, which has been tracking the spacecraft for us. They attempted to track it over both Shemya and Kwajunlon (sp?) and they have not seen anything at either station yet. And that’s pretty much all we know at this point.

Jun 21, 2005 | 15:13 PDT | 22:13 UTC
Launch plus 2 hours 28 min

So what does this mean?

What this means is that we’ve still got a couple good news pieces – data from the spacecraft – but we have bad news data – no tracking from Space Comm. We just don’t know. It’s frustrating.

What’s making it harder to say anything is the fact that we have some data that’s conflicting. There was some data that was received from the launch vehicle about 200-250 seconds after the launch. After that, there may have been something wrong with it, or some ambiguity in it. But what that ambiguity is, we don’t understand – because the only information on it came via cell phone from the Navy Severomorsk. No one here or in Moscow has seen what that data looks like.

Then there’s this other data, the Doppler data that we got from Kamchatka. The data came both before the orbit insertion burn, and during the burn. That data indicates that the spacecraft was working at least partially properly at that time – which is awfully confusing if there was a launch vehicle problem.

Actually, if it turns out that there was something wrong, that Kamchatka data will be immensely valuable. And at least the worst conceiveable outcome HAS NOT happened – the spacecraft WAS heard from over Kamchatka. Some data is way better than no data.

On the other hand, there’s that lack of detection by Space Command. At a minimum, that means that the spacecraft was not where Space Command expected it to be, which is a big worry. There are two possibilities. Either the orbit is not the nominal one – it’s not in the right place, but it is in AN orbit – or it didn’t go into orbit. The third possibility is that Space Command messed up, but that’s less likely than the other two. We have absolutely no idea which of those possibilities is true.

This is not sounding any better folks :frowning:

Instead of taking up space Im going to edit this post and replace the old data unless something major turns up

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.


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.

Sadly it sounds as if they’re losing hope… :frowning:
I’m not a rocket scientist ( :confused: that was an accident) but if the telemetry was fine and then became “noisy”, and they haven’t heard anything since, to me it points to some type of major malfunction. But still hold hope as alot of people have worked hard and need this thing to pull through :xfinger:

Good Luck to all of those at TPS :thumbsup:

Jun 21, 2005 | 19:40 PDT | Jun 22 02:40 UTC

There’s going to be one last update tonight.

That “good ground station contact” I keep talking about is scheduled to begin at 04:24 UT (21:24 PDT). We are all waiting around here at POP for that pass to take place. Jim and Greg and Brent and Viktor have been getting their heads together, coming up with speculative theories, trying what fits, seeing what doesn’t. They are going to try to say some more about what we might know after that potential ground station contact ends, at around 9:40 pm local Pasadena time, which is 04:40 UT. I’ll let you know what they say then.

But I can tell you already, all is not lost. We know that the worst thing that could have happened, the rocket blowing up or something – didn’t happen. We do have spacecraft data. There’s certainly still hope that we may have a live spacecraft. Stay tuned.