by Tim DeBenedictis
I hope this is not the "final" update. The true final update should be information on the next Kickstarter to retool and launch number 2 when you are ready. Please keep us informed when that might happen, so we can back it then!
Thanks to everyone for the strong words of support. First: for everyone who's requested a high-resolution version of the image above, here's a ZIP file containing that image, plus six more that make up a "digital scrapbook" of the project:
Glenn - you asked some good questions. Yes, we did build two satellites, and yes, Nanoracks offered to fly #2 at no charge in case #1 were destroyed in a launch vehicle failure. However, the launch succeeded, and since we don't fully understand the causes of our solar panel non-deployment, it doesn't make sense to launch #2 without some re-engineering. There's also the issue that this project ran significantly over budget, so additional fundraising would have to happen for a second launch.
And your second question, I can happily say, is based on a false assumption. The team here unanimously wants another stab at this. It's simply a question of when, how, and how much it'll cost.
Tom, since you know personally how much effort and energy went into this project, I'll offer you a similar answer: "when we're good and ready." And that means both from a technical and financial point of view.
Marco - we needed deployable solar panels because the high-bandwisth radio used about 3W of power - the amount generated by 2U worth of solar panel area - but we only raised funds to launch a 1U-sized satellite. You're obviously correct - now! - that tying the radio antenna deployment system to the solar panel deployment system was a mistake. We never caught it in testing, but we'd certainly do it differently next time.
Stephen - it's hard to predict exactly where/when SkyCube will re-enter. It depends a lot on random, unpredictable solar activity which affects the density of the upper atmosphere. My personal guess is that SkyCube will re-enter sometime in the next 3 to 6 months. And if you happen to be in the right place at the right time, I'd expect the re-entry to be visible as a bright, slow-moving "meteor". I hope you're there when it happens!
Thanks again to everyone for the amazing words of support. It's what keeps us going.
I will never regret having backed the attempt; but, I am curious. I thought during this whole process a second satellite was being built and held in reserve in case of a failure or was that just a launch failure?
The second question is why are we giving up instead of continuing with the pursuit?
what a ride! I would do it all over again!
So.... when are we doing it again :)
Well, well done, Tim and Team Skycube. I think of the following words: "Reach for the swift winged dream, flying higher than it ought, though you but touch its gleam. For, once the wings are caught, and the feathers brought to land, they are ashes in the hand." Like any great human endeavor, Skycube began with a dream. But the Skycube dream-- (and any subsequent progeny)--flies on. It has been an honor for us all to have been a part of the dream. Thank you.
Hi Tim & co,
Thank you all for letting me be part of this adventure. As Bill Salina posted, the things you did achieve were very, very impressive.
The idea of posting a hi-res picture of the deployment that others mentioned is a very good one, because it will remind you and us all of what you did achieve. I mean, look at that picture! You actually had a home built sattelite deployed from the ISS! As Sherlock Holmes would have said: "I would not have missed it for worlds."
Very proud to have been part of this. While it's (relatively) easy at this point to use hindsight to pick out potential ways things could have been done differently, that's what exploration is all about: finding ways to make things work in the future. Congratulations on all the many accomplishments of this mission, and here's to future success!
Hi Tim. Thank you very much for your precise and sincere update.
I'm really sorry that the project did not work out as excepted until the end, but space is hard. I hope you can also figure out better why it did not work, I mean, to be able to replicate the problem here on earth.
Still, the project was cool and I hope there will be some sort of follow up.
A lesson learned is surely that you should not have put an extra layer (i.e. an extra failure point) before the antenna deployment. By the way, why did you need to deploy the solar panels? Where the solar panels on the sides not enough?
Best of luck for all your future works!
It has been a source of great pleasure and pride to be a small part of this endeavor, something I was invested in made it to the ISS and space! The T-Shirt was a success too, even a TSA official at IAD said: that's really cool. I now wear it frequently on the streets of Kathmandu. It was a great pleasure and shows also that space is a very difficult environment to work in. You all did a wonderful thing and and I was proud to be a part of SkyCube.
Thanks Tim and thanks to all Skycube members for this exciting experience.
Life goes on !
Thanks Tim and the entire SkyCube Team! Ok, so we didn't to take control of it and beam back photos and our messages. The team still accomplished 99% of what the mission was about - namely: design, fabrication, and testing the spacecraft, getting it flight certified and a place on a launch manifest, prepping it for launch, and actually getting it deployed from the ISS. Even more amazing considering the shoe-string budget. After all the crazy hoops you guys had to jump through to make this happen, my only question is, when do we go again? Seriously, it would be a shame to waste the knowledge learned from this and not build upon it. When you are ready, count me in! Thanks! - Bill
Thank you Tim and Skycube Team!
I don't regret backing this project, it's been fun being part of this space experience! Do you have any estimate when and where Skycube will make a burn-up re-entry and would it be visible? I guess without the re-entry ballon it would probably be insignificant, but I thought I would ask? :-)
Best of luck in the future and please keep us informed. I'm happy to have supported this project even though I'm disappointed I never got to send: "Attention inhabitants of the Third Planet: prepare for hyperspace demolition. Capt VP Jeltz, commencing: 5, 4, 3..."
I like the photo of deployment idea, we'd all have something to show and keep.
While disappointed (though not as much as you), I do not regret supporting this project. Best of luck in your future projects and I'd consider pledging again to a similar project in the future.
Very happy to have helped with this project. Best of luck in future adventures.
Could we get access to a high rez print of the photo in this message showing the deployment? My thanks and appreciation for giving it your best, it is part art and part engineering still, so many variables in play. Regards, Greg Lynn