A nano-satellite that lets you take Earth images and "tweet" from space, then inflates a visible balloon, and de-orbits cleanly. Read more
This project was successfully funded on September 12, 2012.
SkyCube Is Alive
SkyCube deployed from the International Space Station last night, at 07:30 GMT - half an hour before midnight here in California. These three videos show three different views of the deployment. They were provided by Nanoracks, courtesy of NASA:
After that, ISS and SkyCube passed into Earth's shadow. There was a 45 minute wait before the solar panels & radio antennas could deploy. SkyCube had been in cold/dark storage for 4 months, we never tested how the batteries hold charge over that long; they may have discharged; it may take several orbits to recharge up enough to fire up the burnwires that release the solar panels. We just did not know.
This morning, the satellite just made its first North American pass, over New Mexico. We repeatedly sent it "Get telemetry" commands, meaning "send me your battery level, solar panel voltages, overall health level, etc." For the first minute or two, no response. Then the ground radio started detecting signal at the expected 915 MHz frequency, then a digital signal at the right baud rate. It wasn't quite strong enough to fully decode all the bits, but there was definitely signal coming back. The signal stopped coming back when the satellite crossed over the horizon, as expected. The guys here are sure that was signal from the satellite.
If they're right, this means that the solar panels must have deployed some time last night, and released the radio antennas. And the processor board is working. And the batteries didn't die after 4 months in cold storage.
The patient is alive. Stay tuned.