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Solar sail spacecraft may be lost

Earlier today we reported on the Planetary Society's historic attempt to place the first solar sail spacecraft into orbit this afternoon (photos are here).

The launch was scheduled to happen at 12:46 p.m. PDT Tuesday, and the missile firing from a submarine in the Barents Sea appears to have gone off without a hitch.

But there's still no confirmation, as of 4:15 p.m. PT, that Cosmos 1 has successfully entered orbit.

Planetary Society spokeswoman Susan Lendroth said that "there still has been no signal received," which is "obviously not good news." Cosmos 1 is projected to pass over one of the better tracking stations in Russia at 9:20 pm PT, Lendroth said, which could yield more information about the tiny spacecraft's fate.