We apologize for the unusually long delay between updates. You should take this as a sign that we've been very, very busy! Here's what's happening with SkyCube, and what you need to know.
When you sponsored SkyCube last summer, one of your most common requests was the ability to gift some (or all) of your satellite messages and images to another person. Now, you can do that! Point your web browser at:
You'll find a web page where you can log in to manage your SkyCube sponsor account and send gifts. You can't actually submit tweets and images just yet; we'll offer that once SkyCube is in orbit later this year. But we're building the functionality that you asked for.
Most importantly, we're now accepting new sponsors! Many people who missed the original SkyCube kickstarter campaign have asked us if they can join Team SkyCube, and now there's a way for them to do so. For details, go to:
Pass it on!
Back from Houston
During May, SkyCube "Alpha" was in Houston with our new launch provider, Nanoracks, undergoing its NASA safety review. We're pleased to announced that the review is complete, and that our primary satellite is now back with us.
Nanoracks has asked for a few minor changes - mainly, rewiring one of our deployment switches, and beefing up the nylon lines that restrain our solar panels and balloon box lid. We're very impressed with the thoroughness of their review. In the end, it's made SkyCube a stronger, safer satellite.
Launch is still scheduled for the end of November, 2013.
May was a busy month for our media outreach efforts. KGO-TV, the ABC San Francisco Bay Area affiliate station, aired the world's first network TV news coverage of the SkyCube project on May 9th. Here's the story:
Click this link to view the YouTube video (3 min).
Sky & Telescope magazine interviewed us extensively at the North East Astronomy Forum (NEAF) in Suffern, NY on April 23rd. NEAF is amateur astronomy's biggest trade show, and the interview went live on May 21st. Here's a YouTube video:
Click this link to view the YouTube video (21 min).
Team SkyCube also made an appearance at Maker Faire in San Mateo on May 17th, demonstrating "tweets from space" before a live audience for the first time!
This amusing shot is of Peter Plazer, leader of the ArduSat kickstarter campaign and of NanoSatisfi, helping me (Tim) demonstrate SkyCube's deployment from an ISIPOD test deployer. Teamwork, indeed!
Changing of the Guard
Life brings changes, and SkyCube's lead firmware engineer Chris Phoenix is moving on to new adventures in audio and 3D printing. Chris did a fantastic job sculpting SkyCube's onboard firmware, and eliminating bugs from the system. His efforts will be missed!
Following in his footsteps, we'd like to welcome our new lead firmware engineer David Oberbeck. David has extensive experience in embedded software development, and was involved in the Iridium communications satellite project. We're excited to have David on the team!
Planetary Resources and the Arkyd
In case you haven't heard the news - Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining startup founded by Peter Diamandis and Google billionaire Sergei Brin, have launched the biggest crowdfunded space mission of all time: the Arkyd-100 space telescope.
Drawing on many of the same themes that you, Team SkyCube, pioneered, the Arkyd Kickstarter has raised over $800,000 to develop the world's first personal space telescope. Check it out!
Didn't Get T-shirt?
Although most of you recieved your SkyCube T-shirts last October, it's clear that a few have gotten lost in the mail, particularly to addresses outside the United States. If you have not received your SkyCube T-shirt yet, please let us know.
And let us know if you have any trouble logging into your brand new SkyCube sponsor account. We're really looking forward to delivering your rewards!
All the best,
-Tim, Scott, Rouslan, David, Kevin, Mark, and the rest of Team SkyCube