Signal Detected From Solar Sail Spacecraft

Scientists said they may have detected a signal from the world's first solar sail spacecraft (search), hours after it suddenly stopped communicating following Tuesday's launch from a Russian submarine under the Barents Sea (search).

The news came after an all-day search for Cosmos 1 (search), a $4 million experiment intended to show that a so-called solar sail can make a controlled flight. The spacecraft was launched at 12:46 p.m. PDT, and initial data reception was followed by silence.

"Good news," Bruce Murray, a co-founder of The Planetary Society, said late Tuesday. "We are very likely in orbit ... we seem to have a live spacecraft."

The signals were found in a review of data recorded at ground tracking stations on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula, Majuro in the Mashall Islands of the Pacific Ocean and at Panska Ves, Czech Republic.