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Author Topic: Elliot Maggin, Prophet  (Read 1640 times)
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« on: June 22, 2005, 01:31:41 AM »

I remember reading Last Son of Krypton by Maggin and being enthralled by the idea of Lex Luthor's many secret identities and shell corporations.  One of his great inventions was an arachnoid space-craft, operated by solar sails, which he stored in an Art Gallery as a sculpture.  Well, today the Russians found Lex's craft and launched it! (not a new idea, I know --even Maggin notes that Lex had interns read science fiction mags and academic journals, looking for ideas he had missed having)

Russian Sub Launches Solar Sail Spacecraft
By JOHN ANTCZAK, Associated Press Writer

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
(06-21) 16:20 PDT Pasadena, Calif. (AP) --

The world's first solar sail spacecraft was launched Tuesday from a Russian submarine under the Barents Sea but concern grew about whether it safely reached orbit as hours passed without a signal.

Cosmos 1, a $4 million experiment intended to show that a so-called solar sail can make a controlled flight, was launched at 12:46 p.m. PDT, and initial data reception was followed by silence.

"The news is not good," said Bruce Murray, a co-founder of The Planetary Society, which organized the launch.

Data stopped during a pass over a portable ground station on Russia's Kamchatka peninsula at about the time the rocket's final stage would have ignited, mission officials said.

There was no signal on later passes over stations in the Pacific Ocean, the Czech Republic and two in Russia. None of those passes, however, were optimal for receiving signals.

The U.S. military also did not make radar sightings on the path the spacecraft was predicted to follow if it did enter orbit, mission official Jim Cantrell said. The best pass straight over a ground station was scheduled to occur after 9 p.m. PDT.

Louis D. Friedman, the society's executive director and Cosmos 1 project director, said there had been some ambiguous data from the launch vehicle, making it uncertain whether the initial launch had actually worked properly.

If all went as planned, the spacecraft was to unfurl eight triangular sails, each nearly 50 feet long and just a quarter of the thickness of a trash bag. Controlled flight, achieved by rotating each sail to change its pitch, would be attempted early next week.


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