Did you ever want to be an astronaut to send messages down to Earth? Now’s your chance.
The SkyCube project on Kickstarter promises to do just that: send a 10x10x10 cm cube satellite in space to not only take pictures from space (that you can receive on an iPhone) but also to send messages, as dictated by the Kickstarter sponsors.
SkyCube is made by the same people who do the SkySafari iPhone and Android apps. If you’ve used them you know the talent of the team behind the SkyCube.
Each dollar donated sponsors 10 seconds of the mission and gets the donor a 120-character message from space.
The satellite is set to go into space in 2013 as part of a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It will orbit more than 300 miles up on a path relative to the Earth’s equator. Here are the technical details in their own words:
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
So if you were that kid who always wanted to go into space but never got to make that dream happen, here’s a chance to get just a little bit closer.