Southern Stars has built a nano-satellite called SkyCube that will launch into orbit in 2013. SkyCube was financed by thousands of sponsors and mobile app users around the world. It is a global grass-roots public outreach and educational effort whose purpose is to make space exploration accessible as never before. And you can now own a piece of this historic mission!
SkyCube has now been built and delivered to NASA in Houston. It is scheduled to launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on the Antares/Cygnus Orb-1 mission to the International Space Station on December 15th, 2013. SkyCube will deploy from ISS approximately two months later.
Once in orbit, SkyCube will let you send simple broadcasts - "tweets from space" - that amateur radio operators around the world can hear, and anyone with a smart phone can follow. You will be able to request images of Earth from the cameras aboard the satellite, using our Satellite Safari app on your iOS or Android device.
And finally, at the end of its 90-day mission, SkyCube will inflate an onboard balloon. The balloon will make SkyCube visible to your unaided eyes, and de-orbit the satellite cleanly through atmospheric drag, ending the mission in a fiery grand finale that avoids any buildup of space debris.
You can still sponsor SkyCube - and purchase your own package of broadcasts and images from space - by clicking here. Your sponsorship will help us cover the remaining launch cost, and offset additional development and operational expenses incurred since 2012. Any additional funds remaining at the end of the SkyCube mission will be used to fund future open-source/amateur space exploration ventures.
Although we are a for-profit company, SkyCube is not really about profit. It's about changing space exploration from something reserved for governments, corporations, and billionaires into an arena that is affordable and accessible by everyone. It's about inspiring a new generation to take risks and accept challenges. It's about acting collectively, sharing risks and expenses, to achieve something together that none of us could have accomplished alone. It's not (just) a science project - it's a social project.
We would like to thank MacTech magazine, SkyCube's first corporate sponsor, for its $25,000 award to the project in 2012. Additional corporate sponsorhip opportunities for SkyCube are still available; for more information, please contact us by email to email@example.com, or on any of the phone numbers at the bottom of this page.
Sky & Telescope senior editor Dennis diCicco talks to Southern Stars founder Tim DeBenedictis at the North East Astronomy Forum (NEAF) in April, 2013 about SkyCube and Satellite Safari, the company's new mobile app for tracking satellites.
KGO TV News Video
You can view KGO's TV network news coverage of SkyCube below. KGO is ABC's San Francisco Bay Area affiliate station. This story, by KGO reporter Jonathan Bloom, is a comprehensive 3-minute overview of SkyCube.
This coverage was taped in April 2013, approximately one month before the satellite was delivered to Houston.