June 21, 2005


A privately-backed solar sail soared into space Tuesday on a mission to use sunlight to fly through space.

A Russian Volna rocket was used to loft the solar sail-propelled spacecraft, known as Cosmos 1 to its builders. The converted Cold War missile shot skyward at about 3:46 p.m. EDT (1946 GMT) from its Russian nuclear submarine launch pad positioned beneath the Barents Sea. . . .

The $4 million solar sailing project is an undertaking of The Planetary Society, a public space advocacy group headquartered in Pasadena, California. The effort is sponsored by Cosmos Studios, a science-based entertainment company located in Ithaca, New York.

It’ll be a while before we know if the satellite works, but at least the launch has gone off properly.

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