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Solar sail flight delayed until September
Posted: Wed, Mar 6, 2002, 7:29 AM ET (1229 GMT)
Cosmos 1 solar sail The Planetary Society recently announced that it will delay the launch of its solar sail mission until September. The flight of Cosmos 1 was scheduled for this spring, but society officials said that production delays caused by technical and weather problems, as well as a desire by engineers of its Russian prime contractor, Babakin Space Center, to build a "much more capable" spacecraft, led to the decision to slip the launch. A more precise launch date will be announced in late March. The spacecraft will still launch on a Russian submarine-based Volna rocket. The flight will be the first orbital test of a solar sail, and the first privately-funded space exploration mission. A suborbital test flight of the solar sail's deployment mechanism took place in July 2001, but failed because a problem with the third stage of the Volna.
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