Status Report

COSMOS 1 Solar Sail Test Flight Launches As Planned

By SpaceRef Editor
July 20, 2001
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Pasadena, CA – July 20, 2001: The sub-orbital test of Cosmos 1, The Planetary Society and Cosmos Studios’ solar sail project, launched as planned yesterday from the Russian submarine, Borisoglebsk, in the Barents Sea. Cosmos 1 launched right on schedule,  Friday, July 20, at 4:33 AM (Moscow time), which was Thursday, July 19, 5:33 PM (U.S. PDT), and flew on its correct trajectory.

There has been some speculation that the spacecraft and capsule may not have separated from the upper stage of the rocket, but this has not been confirmed by the project team. 

“We don’t know what happened yet,” said Viktor Kudryashov, Solar Sail Project Manager at Babakin Space Center.   “We will have to examine all data next week.”

The sub-orbital flight was to test the deployment of two solar sail blades.  Two cameras on board the capsule were designed to photograph the deployment, and the enclosed images and data would be sent back to Earth in the recovery capsule to be retrieved from the Kamchatka peninsula.

“We had hoped to get a signal from the re-entry capsule immediately — but that did not happen. We still hope to find it and recover data within a few days if the capusle landed safely,” said Dr. Louis Friedman, Cosmos 1 Project Director and Executive Director of The Planetary Society.

“Whatever the final outcome,” Friedman added, “this mission — the launch from the submarine and the cooperation with our partners in Russia — is a great step forward and accomplishment for The Planetary Society and Cosmos Studios.  The flight is already a success in two areas:  we are the first space interest group to send a mission into space, and a brand new media company, Cosmos Studios, sponsored the launch.”

Results from this flight will not be available for a few days.  As of this time, the science team is looking for the capsule.  The data from this flight will be used to build and launch the Cosmos 1 solar sail orbital flight later this year. 

Cosmos Studios and A&E Networks sponsor Cosmos 1.


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 Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91106-2301 (626) 793-5100 Fax (626)

793-5528 E-mail:  Web:

For Immediate Release: July 20, 2001

Contact: Susan Lendroth 626-793-5100 (ext 237)

Warren Betts 626-836-2080

SpaceRef staff editor.