Cosmos 1: hope not completely lost

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Wed Jun 22 2005 - 15:52:32 EDT

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    The Cosmos 1 project has issued the appended statement, which encourages optical
    observers to see if the sail can be seen, in the event that it somehow made it
    to orbit, and deploys as scheduled in 4 days, 2005 Jun 26 during the period
    04:41:59 to 04:46:58 UTC.
    Given the sail's expected brightness, it would not be terribly difficult for us
    to carry out a planar search. Let us continue to monitor developments over the
    next day or two, to help decide what to do.
    Ted Molczan
    10:30 am PDT, June 22 (17:30 UTC)
    The Planetary Society as issued the following statement on the fate of Cosmos 1,
    the first Solar Sail Spacecraft:
    In the past twenty-four hours, the Russian space agency (RKA) has made a
    tentative conclusion that the Volna rocket carrying Cosmos 1 failed during the
    firing of the first stage. This would mean that Cosmos 1 is lost.
    While it is likely that this conclusion is correct, there are some inconsistent
    indications from information received from other sources. The Cosmos 1 team
    observed what appear to be signals, that looks like they are from the spacecraft
    when it was over the first three ground stations and some Doppler data over one
    of these stations. This might indicate that Cosmos 1 made it into orbit, but
    probably a lower one than intended. The project team now considers this to be a
    very small probability. But because there is a slim chance that it might be so,
    efforts to contact and track the spacecraft continue. We are working with US
    Strategic Command to provide additional information in a day or so.
    If the spacecraft made it to orbit, its autonomous program might be working, and
    after 4 days the sails could automatically deploy. While the chances of this are
    very, very small, we still encourage optical observers to see if the sail can be
    seen after that time.
    We await further developments and information coming out of Russia, STRATCOM,
    and the tracking stations.
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