Press Release

Launch Date Change for Sub-Orbital Solar Sail: Solar Sail Test Flight Launches from Russian Arctic July 20

By SpaceRef Editor
July 17, 2001
Filed under ,

The deployment test flight for the Cosmos 1 Solar Sail project has been re-scheduled to launch on July 20, 2001 at 4:33 AM (Moscow time), which is July 19, 2001 at 5:33 PM (California time). In the unlikely event that weather conditions warrant a change, the flight could launch at an earlier back-up time that same day.

Cosmos Studios and A&E Network sponsor the project. The project is privately funded, has scientific and commercial objectives, and involves the cooperation of
Russian space and defense organizations through a contract with The Planetary Society.

Cosmos 1 will launch from a Russian submarine in the Barents Sea. The submarine will set sail from Severomorsk, the naval port near Murmansk.

Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society and Project Director for Cosmos 1, will watch the launch firsthand from the deck of a nearby
observation vessel.

“We are setting precedents in many ways — with a private venture using Russian military facilities for launch, with the new technology of solar sails, and with a space
interest group organizing this project,” said Friedman. “Each of these factors is a bit scary, and I admit to some nervousness. However, risk is inherent to space
exploration, and exploring new worlds — in all its meanings — is the motto of The Planetary Society.”

The Cosmos 1 test craft will deploy two solar sail blades, testing the sail’s deployment sequence and performance during the 30-minute flight. Data collected from
this test will help engineers prepare for the planned first solar sail mission in late 2001.

Solar sailing utilizes reflected light pressure pushing on giant panels, which adjust to the continuously changing orbital energy and spacecraft velocity. The sunlight
pressure is powerful enough to push spacecraft between the planets from Mercury out to Jupiter. Beyond Jupiter, and out to the stars, space sailing can be done using
powerful lasers focused over long distances in space.


About The Planetary Society:

The Planetary Society is headquartered in Pasadena, California, U.S.A. The organization was co- founded by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman in 1980
to advance the exploration of the solar system, and to continue the search for extraterrestrial life. With 100,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society is the
largest space interest group in the world. In addition to the Cosmos 1 solar sail, The Planetary Society conducts and supports numerous projects and activities,
including the popular SETI@home distributed computing project and other searches for extraterrestrial intelligence, Red Rover Goes to Mars, and grants for
astronomers searching for Near Earth Objects. The latest solar sail information will be posted on The Planetary Society’s website at

About Cosmos Studios:

Founded by CEO Ann Druyan and company President Kent Gibson, Cosmos Studios seeks to build on the legacy of Dr. Carl Sagan by supporting groundbreaking
scientific research, clean high technology and bold exploration – and engaging the widest possible audience in the romance of the adventure. Some of the ways
Cosmos Studios is doing this are through its updating and presentation of the landmark COSMOS television series and its broadcast and re-issue on home video and
DVD; its proud sponsorship of the SETI@home project, whose three million participants are actively engaged in the analysis of radio telescope data gathered in the
scientific search for extraterrestrial civilizations; its support of scientific expeditions, including one that recently resulted in the discovery of a new genus of dinosaur;
its creative alliances with the A&E Television Network , MPH Entertainment and Random House to create science-based entertainment events, books and
accompanying curricula for students of all ages. Check out for more information on Cosmos Studios projects . Contact Lyla Foggia or Brian
Hershey at (818) 501-0700, or by e-mail at or

About A&E Network:

Winner of the 2000 Governors Award from The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for The Biography Project for Schools and the prestigious Peabody Award
for “The Crossing,” A&E offers viewers a unique blend of original programming, including original movies and drama series, as well as documentaries. Recently,
A&E signed an exclusive and extensive marketing and programming co-development and co-production relationship with Cosmos Studios. The relationship will
feature a wide range of consumer and educational media offerings, as well as groundbreaking and informative specials for the Network. The first of the specials, “The
Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt,” will air on A&E in the fourth quarter of 2001. A&E is available in more than 81 million Nielsen homes in the United States. The A&E web
site is located at

About MPH Entertainment, producers of the planned A&E documentary:
Jim Milio, Melissa Jo Peltier and Mark Hufnail launched MPH Entertainment, Inc. in 1996. MPH specializes in the writing, directing and production of independent
feature films, television series and specials. In just over four years, MPH has produced over 125 hours of primetime television programming and two feature films.
Notable among MPH’s many projects are The History Channel’s “Founding Fathers,” “Discovery Channel’s Eco-Challenge Australia,” “Las Vegas: Gamble in the
Desert” and “Sea Tales,” both for A&E Network.

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The Planetary Society

65 N. Catalina Ave.

Pasadena, CA 91106-2301

Tel: (626) 793-5100

Fax: (626) 793-5528


SpaceRef staff editor.