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Re: starship-design: Space Group Plans Solar Sailing Voyage

> From owner-starship-design@lists.uoregon.edu Tue Feb 27 16:20:55 2001
> From: "Andrew \"Daishi\" West" <andrew@hmm.u-net.com>
> Space Group Plans Solar Sailing Voyage
> Reuters
> Feb 26 2001 6:11PM
> WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In what sounds like a purely fantastic voyage, a
> private U.S. group that boosts planetary exploration said on Monday it plans
> to use the power of light to sail a giant windmill-shaped contraption
> through space.
> http://my.aol.com/news/news_story.psp?type=1&cat=0200&id=0102261811330216

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>From bounce-planetarysociety-1715@lists.planetary.org Tue Feb 27 01:34:50 2001
Delivered-To: uran-uranos@uranos.eu.org
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 14:37:35 -0800
To: "planetarysociety" <planetarysociety@lists.planetary.org>
From: Charlene Anderson <charlene.anderson@planetary.org>
Subject: First Solar Sail Set to Launch

Dear Members and Friends of The Planetary Society--

It has been nearly a year since we last sent out an e-mail update. 
But as you read on, I think you'll see it's not because we haven't 
been busy!  We're back, and with the most exciting announcement in 
Planetary Society history.

We are about to launch the first solar sail mission ever -- and the 
first space mission by a public-interest organization.  Our goal is 
to test sail deployment during a sub-orbital flight in April, and to 
fly the Earth-orbital mission by the end of the year.

The funding for our mission comes from Cosmos Studios, a 
science-based media and entertainment venture led by Ann Druyan, wife 
and collaborator of Society co-founder Carl Sagan.

This is a bold venture -- the biggest, most ambitious project The 
Planetary Society has ever undertaken.  We hope you will join us as 
we launch the first solar sail mission, and take the first step down 
a path that leads to the planets -- and perhaps, one day, to the 

Louis Friedman
Executive Director

The text of the official press release follows.


For News and Updates on this mission,
visit http://planetary.org/

Pasadena, CA. - February 26, 2001: The Planetary Society's Cosmos 1: 
The First Solar Sail mission, sponsored by Cosmos Studios, is set to 
test in April with the prime mission scheduled to launch between 
October - December this year.

The deployment test flight will launch from a Russian submarine in 
the Barents Sea and will be lifted into a thirty-minute sub-orbital 
flight from a Russian Volna rocket, a converted ICBM.   The main 
mission, with the goal of first solar sail flight, will launch into 
Earth orbit later this year, also from a Volna rocket.

Once in orbit, the solar sail spacecraft will be as bright as the 
full moon (although only a point in the sky) and will be visible from 
places on Earth with the naked eye.  Images of the sail in flight 
will be sent to Earth from two different cameras on-board the 

The mission represents the first private mission of space exploration technology and the first mission by a private space interest organization. It will explore and develop technology that could open the door to future flights throughout the solar system and beyond. The mission will be carried out by a unique, privately funded Russian-American space venture.

  "This could be a pivotal moment for space exploration, said Louis 
Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society and Project 
Director of Cosmos 1.  "Solar Sailing is a grand adventure as well as 
an important leap in technological innovation."

Space sailing is done not with wind, but with reflected light 
pressure - pushing on giant sails, changing the orbital energy and 
spacecraft velocity continuously.   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.

"The lasers themselves will be powered by solar energy - keeping the 
spirit of solar sailing alive to other stars," added Friedman.

"The many special aspects of this first attempted solar sail flight - 
Russian-American collaboration; use of weapons of war for launching 
peaceful technologies for humankind's future; attempting a very low 
cost, privately funded space initiative in a one-year time schedule; 
realizing one of Carl Sagan's dreams; working with Ann Druyan, 
Sagan's wife and long-time collaborator, who, together with Joe 
Firmage, had the courage to fund this project - make us extremely 
proud of what we have accomplished before we've even launched,"  said 

"We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean.  We 
are ready at last to set sail for the stars," wrote Sagan and Druyan 
in their television series, Cosmos.

"This is a Kitty Hawk moment to us.  We feel as if we've been given 
the chance to outfit the Wright Brothers' Bicycle Shop," said Ann 
Druyan, CEO of Cosmos Studios, Inc. "We at Cosmos Studios are honored 
to work with the brilliant scientists and engineers of many countries 
brought together by The Planetary Society for one great purpose.  We 
are proud to be part of this historic mission, which is a critical 
baby step to the stars.  It's also emblematic of Cosmos Studios' 
philosophy: to support good science, clean high technology and bold 
exploration, and to engage the widest possible audience in the 
romance of the adventure."

The low cost of this mission is made possible due to the Russians 
ability to "piggy-back" on a successful program in developing an 
inflatable re-entry vehicle.   Once injected into Earth's orbit, the 
sail will be deployed by inflatable tubes, pulling out the sail 
material and then rigidizing the structure.  The sail is constructed 
into eight "blades" or "petals" - roughly triangular in shape.   They 
can be turned (pitched) like helicopter blades, and depending on how 
they are turned, the sunlight will reflect in different directions. 
This is how the attitude of the spacecraft is controlled and how the 
sail can "tack."

Low cost is also made possible by use of the Volna rocket, 
manufactured by the Makeev Rocket Bureau in Russia.   The Babakin 
Space Center is the prime contractor for the project - the company is 
a spin-off organization of NPO Lavochkin, the largest manufacturer of 
robotic spacecraft in the world.

The April launch will be a sub-orbital flight test of the deployment 
of two solar sail blades.  An inflatable re-entry shield is planned 
to bring the pictures of the deployment back to a landing and 
recovery site in Kamchatka.  The actual solar sail flight will 
commence from an 850 km circular orbit, with a launch being planned 
in a window between October - December of this year.  The sail will 
be 600 square meters of aluminized mylar, constructed into 8 blades.

Solar sailing enables space travel without fuel.   Applications from 
space weather satellites that can hold position against the force of 
gravity, to interplanetary shuttles carrying cargo between the 
planets and the asteroids and comets are all part of the solar 
sailing future.  By diving in close to the Sun, future solar sails 
will achieve enormous velocities enabling rendezvous with any solar 
system object, or, as mentioned above, a flight to the stars.

Cosmos 1 is staffed by a world team of Americans and Russians.   The 
Planetary Society website has a dedicated section to this mission, 
which includes an animation of the mission, spacecraft details, 
updates and news releases. It will allow the world public to follow 
and participate in this mission. This site is open to the public and 
is located at http://planetary.org.

This will be the first space mission that will utilize a website to 
continuously interface the sequence of the mission with the general 
public, allowing continued and uninterrupted public participation. 
Additional information will also be available at the Cosmos Studios 
website located at http://carlsagan.com.

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.

Cosmos Studios creates science-based entertainment that seeks to 
thrill and engage the broadest possible audience through the 
convergence of television, cinema and the Internet.  The company 
creates programming that makes news, entertains, uplifts and inspires 
humankind's quest for knowledge, our understanding of cosmic 
evolution, and our place in its great story. Cosmos Studios is based 
in Los Angeles, California and is managed from Ithaca, New York.

#  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #

Charlene M. Anderson
Associate Director
The Planetary Society
office:  626-793-5100
fax:  626-793-5528

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