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#51 2005-06-23 03:14:57

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: solar sail - solar sail

Last (real) word from Emily (I'm sure she'll keep updating, but this seems to be the real end of the mission right here): http://planetary.org/solarsailblog/index_05.html

Jun 22, 2005 | 19:12 PDT | Jun 23 02:12 UTC

Scattering to the winds

With failure of Cosmos 1 virtually certain, the team members that have been staffing Project Operations Pasadena have elected to return to their homes. Thanks to the Internet, if our spacecraft miraculously reappears, each of us will still be able to keep watch over the mission from our individual remote locations. Greg returns to Berkeley, Jim and Brent to Utah, and Paul to his usual life at the Jet Propulsion Lab, just up the valley from Pasadena. Lou will be returning from Moscow in a couple of days. I took off for home a couple of hours ago in order to begin to catch up on sleep.

The team may be scattering, but it's not over. The search for the spacecraft continues. The search continues in the present, as several observatories have offered to try to look for a signal from the spacecraft. (If you, too, have a spare observatory, feel free to search at a frequency of 401.5275 Hz, but I am afraid that I can't offer any advice on where to point your antenna.) The search also continues into the past, as Strategic Command is working through its "unknown objects bucket" (as Jim called it this morning) to find where the spacecraft and its launch vehicle ended up.

At the Society, we're already talking about what to do next. A few hours ago, Bill Nye -- the Science Guy, and also the Vice-President of The Planetary Society -- asked all of the staff to gather together in the living room of the 100-year-old house in which we work. He opened and poured champagne for all of us, and we raised several toasts. We toasted Cosmos 1, first of all; it was an audacious dream, that we arrogantly compared to the flight of the Wright Brothers. We toasted Lou Friedman in absentia, for whom it must have been a pretty rough week. We toasted the staff and volunteers of the Society, for all the work it's taken to bring Cosmos 1 to the world. We toasted Ann Druyan, the chief sponsor of Cosmos 1, for making it possible, and for being the mission's spiritual leader. We toasted our members, for their devotion to our cause and their support. Finally, we toasted: Cosmos 2? Many of our members are telling us they're ready to try again. We can't say whether or not we'll try again with this mission until we find out what really happened. But we'll certainly stay in the business, and try more audacious things, like the Solar Sail, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Mars airplanes, or Venus balloons we've advocated in the past.

In the meantime, we'll go back to our ordinary everyday work. My ordinary everyday work has me talking to scientists and engineers around the world about their work on active space missions, like Cassini-Huygens; answering space questions on our weekly radio show; running contests like the Deep Impact Great Comet Crater Contest; and generally sticking my nose into whatever's going on in space exploration and relaying whatever I learn to any member of the public who has the patience to read what I write. I have a cool job.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#52 2005-06-24 10:11:30

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: solar sail - solar sail

Staging glitch?

*They're speculating the booster stages never separated...

Tough break.  sad

That's the most recent update I've seen.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#53 2005-06-24 19:35:32

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: solar sail - solar sail

You should have had a backup. Think of your backup, now, as all the expertise your group has and don't break it up. There's lots of rich guys around who have't a clue what to do with their dough. Try again, but get your brilliantly conceived solar sail package (plus a spare) on one of the Progress runs, and launch it from the ISS: That's the sort of thing it's good for. Don't stop, you're cool!

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#54 2005-06-25 07:09:25

Grypd
Member
From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,859

Re: solar sail - solar sail

There is one serious problem that we have ignored with this thread. The problem that failed the mission. It was a failure in the third stage of the Molnia rocket that caused the rocket to not make the height.

But the third stage of a Molnia rocket is also the exact same third stage that is used in Soyuz rockets and if a fault occured there then it could also happen to the much more important soyuz.

Moscow understands that the fault must be found and the cause understood and rectified. Until then there will be no more Soyuz launches.


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

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#55 2005-06-25 07:55:15

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: solar sail - solar sail

No Grypd, the rocket you are thinking of that failed was ANOTHER Russian rocket, a satelite launch using the same R-7 rocket as Soyuz and Progress. Cosmos One was launched from an old Russian SLBM missile, which is not related to the R-7.

Cosmos One would have been too big to fit through the hatch of a Soyuz.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#56 2005-06-25 20:34:42

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: solar sail - solar sail

That's very interesting, GCNR. How do you find out these things? Was size the only reason a Soyuz-derived capsule wasn't employed? If so, my experience would lead me to expect an engineering redesign should have been carried out (by unpaid volunteers, of course). After all, wasn't the primary objective of the experiment to resolve, once and for all, if Gold's contention that light propulsion won't work is true or false?

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#57 2005-06-25 20:49:59

Loughman
Member
From: Tempe, Arizona
Registered: 2005-06-21
Posts: 29

Re: solar sail - solar sail

A good place to find out information on rockets is the International Reference Guide to Launch Vehicles. 

I think GCN mentioned that the Soyuz hatch is too small to mean that you couldn't put Cosmos 1 in the Soyuz vehicle.  The Soyuz rocket (which typically carries the Soyuz and Progress modules) would have been sufficient to carry Cosmos 1.

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#58 2005-06-26 07:55:14

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: solar sail - solar sail

Well, the Soyuz hatch is only about 80cm wide
http://asimov.esrin.esa.it/export/images/03900_L.jpg
http://www.astronautix.com/graphics/s/soyokcu.jpg

The Volna rocket's payload faring is 130cm wide
http://dutlsisa.lr.tudelft.nl/dart/launch2.html

As Cosmos was designed to fit the latter, and the faring volume is quite small, I think it reasonable to assume that Cosmos wouldn't fit in Soyuz without total redesign. Plus, Soyuz can only carry about 100kg of payload besides its crew compliment, and if you have to build a launch cradle for it, that would probobly put you over budget. Plus there is the little niggling problem of Cosmos RCS fuel, which is assuredly a very poisonous Hypergolic, would be riding along inside a manned spacecraft. Bad combination.

Now if you are meaning to put Cosmos on its OWN R-7 rocket, and not have it ride along with an ISS crew, there is the little problem of cost... that an R-7 rocket costs around $20-30M easy, perhaps $40M. Ten times the cost of Cosmos, and R-7 can lift like 7,000kg, which is kind of overkill for a 100kg satelite. The Volna rocket, a retired ICBM, was the perfect size.

Edit: Oh, and the satelite version of the R-7, the Molniya-M, very recently blew up just after leaving the launch pad, and all future flights are suspended for the moment.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#59 2005-06-27 05:28:11

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,301

Re: solar sail - solar sail

Sure looks that way from the Russia Forbids Rockets Launches After Recent Crash.

But then again there was thisRussians launch modernized communications satellite on a Proton.

Maybe it is just old military hardware that is on hold for use?

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#60 2005-06-27 07:26:27

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: solar sail - solar sail

Cost, cost, cost, cost! Your arguments are all cogent re. hatch size, fuel toxicity, old military hardware dicey-ness ... but then after you're finally run out of engineering problems to object to (because they're all solvable, you know as well a I, given some rational thought and ingenuity) you drag out: Cost ... and Congress ... anything, to support your contention that (I presume) we should empty LEO of all harware asap and start from scratch in space. Well, you may think you'll live long enough to get back to where we are capability-wise the second time around to see this happen, but I (and most of the experienced rocket types) won't. What we have in LEO orbit right now isn't optimum, in the sense that transoceanic steamboats with side-wheels and sails (engineering abortions that they were) were firsts. They served their times until something better came along. Sometimes--if you weren't so darned useful to sorting out my understanding, I 'd tell you off ... and, well, I just did it. That's life, I guess, as it is lived.

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#61 2005-06-27 08:59:09

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: solar sail - solar sail

Well yes, virtually everything about spaceflight does eventually boil down to cost. That you could do almost unlimited things if you had unlimited money, like build a GCNR or NSWR powerd colony ship to Mars, or a giant wheel space station, or interstellar laser-pumped solar sail probe...

...but that is unfortunatly not the case. There is a finite, limited amount of money that is available to spend over a given amount of time. I believe that this sum is enough to put man perminantly on Moon/Mars with a bit left over for development/colonization work, nice probes, and future technology development (spaceplanes, space elevators, high performance engines, etc)... but only if the money is spent very wisely.

If all you want to do is TEST and see if a solar sail actually does work, and that experiment fits theory, then if you are spending your money wisely then you won't go and blow $30M for a rocket to put a $4M satelite (and some brass bricks for ballast) into orbit. Money must absolutely be spent carefully and efficently, and throwing it away for the sake of rushing technology development with low payback is not an example of this nessesarry practice.

The sooner we start getting serious about the costs and how to pay for them, the sooner we get some place instead of just talking and dreaming about it.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#62 2005-06-27 13:28:04

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: solar sail - solar sail

I'm 100% in agreement with your just-posted reply to my diatribe (unspecified to whom but you recognized yourself) regarding emphasis on the cost of space travel development. But (there always has to be a "but") I get the impression the costs are all to come from the U.S. Not necessarily so: Things change.

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#63 2015-01-27 20:05:04

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,301

Re: solar sail - solar sail

This time at least its riding on a reliable rocket....

Planetary Society to launch solar sail demonstrator in May

The Planetary Society announced Monday that it will launch a small spacecraft designed to test solar sail technology in May.

The nonprofit organization said it first LightSail spacecraft, a 3U CubeSat, will fly as a secondary payload on an Atlas 5 rocket launching in May from Cape Canaveral.

The spacecraft will spend four weeks in orbit testing out its systems before deploying a set of Mylar sails on booms four meters long. Atmospheric drag will keep the sail from generating thrust, but will test systems for a second spacecraft, planned for launch in 2016, that will fly in a higher orbit.

The organization ultimately hopes to show that solar sails, which generate thrust from the small but continuous pressure on the sails from sunlight, can be used for cost-effective solar system exploration.

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#64 2015-05-10 18:44:29

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,301

Re: solar sail - solar sail

Planetary Society Set To Launch Solar Sail Experiment

The Planetary Society is preparing to launch a tiny satellite into orbit later this month as the first phase in testing a solar sail as a means of spacecraft propulsion — an idea that has been kicking around in the science (and science-fiction) literature for at least a century.

The satellite, LightSail, no larger than a loaf of bread, is contained within the somewhat larger Prox-1 satellite developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology. It is scheduled to liftoff aboard an Atlas V rocket on May 20.

The first LightSail won't reach a high enough orbit to try out the sail in the solar wind, but it should be able to test the mechanism for deploying the 345-square foot tissue-thin Mylar sail. A mission set for next year should put a second LightSail in a high enough orbit to fully test the concept.

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#65 2019-07-01 21:02:41

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,301

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#66 2019-07-31 13:25:22

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 2,170

Re: solar sail - solar sail

Here is an update on the Planetary Society Solar Sail experiment:

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-da … on-success

(th)

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#67 2019-07-31 17:40:35

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,301

Re: solar sail - solar sail

https://www.space.com/light-sail-first- … cking.html

I see from your link that the spacecraft’s perigee decreases from the effects of atmospheric drag on the spacecraft. Part of the issue is that the density of the atmosphere at the altitudes the spacecraft is at — between about 705 and 725 kilometers — is not well known, and varies over time.

The LightSail 2 raised the apogee of its orbit by 1.7 kilometers over four days after the three-unit cubesat deployed a 32-square-meter Mylar sail. Spacecraft engineers determined the only way that the spacecraft could have raised its orbit during that time is because of thrust created by solar pressure on the sail.

Need to watch the perigee altitude in that it needs to start to rise and that will show that the drag is lessoning...

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