Learn about the solar sails of the Cosmos One mission. Also learn about the collaboration with Russia in this mission.
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Learn About the Cosmos One Mission It’s been the dream of science fiction writers and space scientists alike. A silver sail to catch the light of the Sun. propelled by the pressure of photons, a craft with such a sail could navigate the reaches of our solar system or beyond. Perhaps even to the nearest stars. In orbit, the unmanned Cosmos One spacecraft deploys an experimental solar sail with eight triangular blades made from Mylar film. Mission planners calculated that the pressure of sun light on the 15 meter long blades will be enough to change the speed of the 100 kilogram spacecraft in its orbit around the Earth. A tremendous sail by changing the angle of the blades to the Sun will let flight controllers raise or lower the orbit. And if all goes to plan, the prototype solar sailor could gain enough height to stay in orbit forever. Cosmos One will be launched from a Russian Navy submarine. The lunar rocket system is part of the program to reuse missiles from decommissioned nuclear weapons. The space craft who did sail are being built under contract in Russia. The planetary society was co founded by the space scientists and broadcaster Carl Sagan who died in 1996. Sagan’s media company, Cosmo Studios sponsored the mission and pays for most of it. Two operation centers, one on California and one in Moscow coordinate the moth long flight. And that they work at ground stations to monitor the space craft and let flight controllers adjust the sails by remote control. One day, some jammers like these may fulfill the wish of the poet “who was only fort a tall ship and the star to stir her by.”