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Solar sail launch date set
Posted: Tue, May 24, 2005, 8:33 AM ET (1233 GMT)
Cosmos 1 solar sail The Planetary Society announced Monday that it will launch Cosmos 1, its solar sail spacecraft, next month from a Russian submarine. Launch of Cosmos 1 on a Volna, a converted Russian sub-launched ballistic missile, is scheduled for a launch window that opens June 21. Once in space, Cosmos 1 will deploy a 30-meter solar sail, using light pressure to gradually expand the spacecraft's orbit. The spacecraft will be the first orbital test of a solar sail, although the technology has been tested in groundbased experiments and suborbital flights. Later in the mission the spacecraft will be used to test if the spacecraft can be propelled by microwaves beamed from the Earth.
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