Commentary

Private Solar Sail Orbiter Launches

From the exciting field of private sector space innovation:

A privately funded and experimental spacecraft blasted off on Tuesday from a Russian submarine in a venture funded by space enthusiasts who see their solar-driven orbiter as a way to reinvigorate a race to the stars. Cosmos 1, the world’s first solar sail spacecraft, launched in the tip of a converted Russian intercontinental ballistic missile from the Barents Sea for the start of a mission that cost just $4 million. Its Planetary Society sponsors hope the craft, which will deploy a petal-shaped solar sail to power its planned orbit around Earth, will show that sunlight could power interplanetary space travel.

More here and here.

Leonard Gilroy is vice president of government reform at Reason Foundation and senior managing director of Reason's Pension Integrity Project.