Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Cosmos-1 in orbit?

It now looks like Cosmos-1 has obtained orbit, although probably not the one which was intended...

Initial reports from Majuro suggested that no signal was received, however it is now thought that around 10 seconds of data was obtained during the pass, this appears to be consistent with the earlier partial Doppler data taken from Kamchatka during the boost phase. Additionally it appears that the Panska Ves ground station may now also be reporting a similar partial contact.

CREDIT: The Planetary Society
This map shows the nominal track of Cosmos-1, and its location at 20:10:34 UT on the 21 June where it should have been visible from both Petropavlovsk and Majuro.

So while the mission team still aren't in contact with the spacecraft, the sightings from Majuro and Panska Ves earlier today may mean that the spacecraft is alive and in orbit, and things are in a much better state than they seemed earlier in the day.

More information can be found via the official update page, the Planetary Society Solar Sail Weblog, or via their RSS feed. No more news is expected until 08:00 PDT / 15:00 UT today.

Update: Despite news from the tracking stations, it now looks like this might have been false hope, and that Cosmos-1 did not achieve orbit at all...