SkyCube: The First Satellite Launched by You!

Southern Stars has built a nano-satellite called SkyCube that launched into orbit on 9 January 2014. 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.

SkyCube launched from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on the Antares/Cygnus Orb-1 mission to the International Space Station on January 9th, 2014 at 1:07 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Left: The first Antares/Cygnus commercial resupply launch to ISS, 9 January 2014. Middle: SkyCube and four other CubeSats released from ISS, 28 February 2014.
Right: sample Earth image with same resolution and field of view as SkyCube's cameras. Click any image to enlarge.

SkyCube was deployed from the ISS into its own orbit on 28 February 2014. The first signals from SkyCube were receieved on 27 March 2014. When SkyCube becomes fully operational, the satellite 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.

Sponsorship and Rewards

SkyCube began life as a successful crowd-funding campaign on kickstarter.com. For the latest news on SkyCube, check out the project's update page.

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.

Southern Stars has developed Satellite Safari, an iOS and Android app for tracking SkyCube and other satellites.
SkyCube will become visible at the end of its mission by inflating a large on-board balloon.

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 skycube@southernstars.com, or on any of the phone numbers at the bottom of this page.

Sky & Telescope Interview

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.