Well, Either Cosmos 1 is Headed for Space

Or it’ll crash like the Planetary Society’s webpage keeps doing. Probably more interesting, IMHO, than a solar sail being sent into space, is how it’s being launched.

The missile, it should be noted, is being fired from a submarine.

Since the website is goffy…Have you any idea how much thrust they think they will get from the sail?

IIRC, it’s no more than a few ounces or pounds. The idea being that it’s like the low-powered nuclear drives: You don’t get a lot of thrust all at once, but you get it for far longer than you would with a chemical rocket. In his Expanded Universe RAH talks about how it’d be possible to get to Mars in a few months with a solar sail. (Of course, it’d have to be huge, but still possible.)

Damn. Looks like like it may have gone the way of the web site

Well, it looks like there might still be a glimmer of hope. From CNN.com:

KaBoom KaBoom. Shalalalalala Shalalalalala
KaBoom KaBoom. Shalalalalala Shalalalalala

In other words the booster went boom.


Had we known that the darn things didn’t work, we wouldn’t have had such a problem with Cuba.

I remember reading a quote by a general talking about the Cold War and saying something about how they expected an insane amount of Soviet gear to simply not work.

After hearing about the Patriot missile “successes” in Gulf War I, I would have expected a fair amount of U.S. gear to not work either. Which is why, in hindsight, it was reassuring that both sides had enough redundant gear to destroy the world several times over. :slight_smile:

70% in Saudi Arabia protecting military targets, but only 40% in Israel, because cities were targeted and “The IDF
counted any Scud that exploded on the ground (regardless of whether or not it was diverted) as a failure for the Patriot.”

I don’t know how reliable the Federation of American Scientists is but this is the closest cite I can find that corrobarates a memory I have of a news clip I saw a couple of years ago… They both seem to be saying the same thing but implying different outcomes. As in your article seems to be saying that the Patriots did okay and my article seems to be saying that the Patriots got lucky.

They didn’t seem very lucky in Israel. I still seems to me that “hitting” the target means detonating near the scud and knocking in off course to Rayethon and literally hitting and destroying the warhead to the Israelis.

Looks like it’s a goner.:frowning:

Well, to be fair it was a mission kill. Had it been a nuclear warhead or a bio warhead on its way , then possibly tel aviv or one of the other citys would have been spared the initial destruction.

Since then , its been upgraded from a proximity kill , to a skin kill.


I think that quote was after the cold war ,when we finally got to see a fair amount of soviet equipment and installations , one of the quotes was that some of those nuclear tipped ICBMS would not launch , unless you detonated the warhead under it.


Also, the Patriot was not originally designed to intercept missiles, and had only been hurriedly converted to such a role right before the war.

Could be. I don’t remember where I read/heard it.

I believe it was an anti aircraft weapon, but hitting a ballistic target should be much easier than one that can evade.

Except that it’s much smaller, and if hitting a ballistic target were so easy, we’d already have a functional SDI system in place.