Solar Sails


This is just way too cool :D

First Solar Sail to be launched tomorrow said:
A space advocacy group would be showcasing the next generation technology to power vehicles through space when the Cosmos 1 would be launched tomorrow. They call it Cosmos 1 and if the project is successful, it would provide an elegant method of space travel that uses gentle pressure from sunlight to ply outer space.

Read more at and any other geek news site.
I remember hearing about this concept years ago in highschool...the particular teacher was very "enthusiastic" over it.

Interesting to see it finally being tried out.
IIRC there was some kind of solar sail featured in the original Tron ... "future technology" indeed! Cool!
Looks like they've run into some problems. The craft may have been deployed at a lower orbit than was anticipated. But the scientists have managed to restablish communication with the craft and they say everything is alright now.

Here's a page on the BBC that looks like it details how the craft works.
I love how they launched it from a Russian sub on an old ICBM - swords and ploughshares etc :)
I want Dooku's ship from Attack of the Clones now darn it!

Cosmos 1 has crashed.

Russian Space Agency: Solar Launch Failed said:
The world's first solar sail spacecraft crashed back to Earth when its booster rocket failed less than two minutes after Tuesday's takeoff, Russian space officials said Wednesday.

Sigh. Looks like the boosters failed to get it high enough and gravity took over. Shame. Real shame.