SkyCube: The First Satellite Launched by You
Posted: 06 August 2012 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]
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This is kind of cool.

We are the makers of the SkySafari astronomy apps for iOS, Android, and Mac OS X.  With our mobile apps, we’ve revolutionized the way people observe the night sky.  Now, we want to do for space exploration what we’ve done for amateur astronomy.

We are developing a nano-satellite, and mobile apps to go with it, as the focus for a global education and public outreach campaign.  The satellite, called SkyCube, is a 10x10x10 cm “1U” CubeSat intended for launch as a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in 2013.  Orbiting more than 300 miles up, on a path highly inclined to the Earth’s equator, SkyCube will pass over most of the world’s inhabited regions.

SkyCube will take low-resolution pictures of the Earth and broadcast simple messages uploaded by sponsors.  After 90 days, it will use an 8-gram CO2 cartridge to inflate a 10-foot (3-meter) diameter balloon coated with highly reflective titanium dioxide powder.  SkyCube’s balloon will make the satellite as bright as the Hubble Space Telescope or a first-magnitude star.  You’ll be able to see it with your own eyes, sailing across the sky.  But SkyCube’s balloon isn’t just for visibility.  It will - within 3 weeks - bring SkyCube down from orbit due to atmospheric drag, ending the mission cleanly in a fiery “grand finale” that avoids any buildup of space debris.

This is a Kickstarter project and they need $82,500 to fund it. They are almost halfway there.

Link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/880837561/skycube-the-first-satellite-launched-by-you

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Posted: 06 August 2012 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Glad you posted this.  Sky Safari is my favorite astronomy app. One of the developers is a member of our astronomy club. He moved to Colorado a little over a year ago but still keeps in touch. I used to observe with him quite often. This is an ambitious project, and I hope they meet their goal.

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