Fearing the worst – mission control has failed to pick up signals from an experimental solar-driven spacecraft that was launched yesterday from a Russian submarine.
Cosmos 1, described as the world’s first solar-sail orbiter, blasted off in a converted ballistic missile from the Barents Sea.
The private sponsors had hoped the craft would prove that sunlight could power long-distance space travel.
The special petal-like solar panels on the craft were programmed to open and provide the power to orbit around earth.
The Planetary Society sponsored Cosmos 1 at a cost of just over three million euros.
While officials have not yet totally written off Cosmos 1, they will be acutely aware of the fact that previous ventures in the past have all ended in failure.