SkyCube: the first satellite launched by you!

September 12, 2012

A nano-satellite that lets you take Earth images and “tweet” from space, then inflates a visible balloon, and de-orbits cleanly. Fully funded after a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Who Are We? And What is SkyCube?

We’re the makers of the SkySafari astronomy apps for iOS, Android, and Mac OS X, and the SkyFi wireless telescope controller.  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.

Video Source: SkyCube

SkyCube: The First Satellite Launched by You!