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A one-man aerospace corporation will launch a trio of spacecraft to retrace the path of a 19th C. American artist in an attempt to rediscover beauty.
A one-man aerospace corporation will launch a trio of spacecraft to retrace the path of a 19th C. American artist in an attempt to rediscover beauty.
42 backers pledged $2,408 to help bring this project to life.

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HELP THE WORLD'S SMALLEST AND MOST ILL-EQUIPPED AEROSPACE COMPANY LAUNCH A MISSION TO SEARCH FOR "LIFE ON EARTH"

In the 1870's the United States hadn't yet acquired its idea of "The West". Government surveys generated reports of fantastic discoveries, making for compelling reading in magazines like Scribner's. An artist in Philadelphia named Thomas Moran was tasked with illustrating an article about the 'Yellowstone' region and became fascinated. Ultimately his aesthetic decisions led to the creation of the National Parks System, the expansion of the railroads westward, and the 'development' of whole cities and towns.

A hundred years later, space exploration was thought to be a continuation of this model of discovery and conquest, but has since changed. After visiting the moon briefly "In peace for all mankind", mankind stayed home. Robots are increasingly the heroes of expeditions, their limited perceptions and brainpower notwithstanding.

The Brower Propulsion Laboratory, a one-man, Stranger-Than-Fictitious manufacturer of hard to locate items, is seeking funding for a mission based on these two quintessentially American historical phenomena. For our third full-scale mission, we will launch three spacecraft (a lander, a rover, and an airborne 'nanosatellite') near Livingston, Montana, and use their painstakingly crafted (read: DIY) technical apparatus to revisit the sites originally depicted by Thomas Moran. Data will be collected and analyzed in an attempt to "see" this region, (and assess its potential for "life"), in its varied and complicated contexts. Work on this project began in 2006.

The spacecraft and most of the equipment and experiments are already made and undergoing tests right now!

The public will be able to participate in this mission by (1); visiting the exhibitions where the spacecraft, photographs, mission paraphernalia, and equipment will be displayed before, during, and after the mission, (2); by supporting the project through Kickstarter, and (3); by watching the mission unfold at BPL's website, http://browerpropulsionlab.com/ .

There will also be a number of special activities that will involve public participation, which will be announced at the website and here in the form of updates.

For the next phase of the project, the Spacecraft and Mission Equipment will be displayed at the Esther Klein Art Gallery at the University City Science Center, in Philadelphia (http://breadboardphilly.org/) from 22 January, 2010 through 21 March, 2010. The spacecraft will be undergoing tests, and there will be several 'interactive' features (like our Beauty Contest).

WHAT BPL NEEDS FROM THE KICKSTARTER COMMUNITY: You may have surmised by this point that the standards this 'company' adheres to are different from those of your average aerospace corporation. Rather than build toxic and expensive launch rockets, we just need to make some crates for the spacecraft and equipment (analysis indicates that doing the mission on Earth rather than, say, Mars, will save billions of dollars!). The crates need to be well constructed for use in multiple missions. Since the BPL Chairman used to build crates for a living, he has donated his time and skills. We need this money to build the crates, pay off the great people at Kickstarter and the Amazon thing, and to arrange for the transportability of the spacecraft from New York to Philadelphia and back and then from New York to Livingston, Montana and back.

In case you don't know about how Kickstarter works, they get 5% of the funds raised, and Amazon takes another 3 or 4% (based on a complex metric our Math Interpretation Department is still trying to decipher), which we see as all to the good. If you pledge a certain amount, and our total is not achieved by all the pledges within the established time limit, then you don't pay, and you also don't get the backer reward(s). If the goal is reached, or surpassed, everybody gets what they are asking for. At any rate, another thing we need (besides the money), is for more people to participate in our burgeoning space program. So you can also help BPL and yourself by spreading the word (thanks!).

A Personal Note From The BPL Chairman Concerning the Backer Rewards: All the items listed were made by me and will be signed and otherwisely rarified or collectable-ized, in case they should become valuable. Some of the things were made earlier in the project and some are made just for Kickstarter. I'm making them as inexpensive to buy as possible and if this round of fundraising is successful, I will do it again, with even more stuff, to fund the next phase of the project. If not, it will be back to the drawing board, which is something I am quite used to! This whole thing has been self funded (through my various freelance jobs and other compromises), and I don't have assistants. But I want the stuff you get to be substantial and to feel like a 'good deal' to you. If you have questions about these things, just contact me - I'd be happy to answer them.

I'm timing the pledge period to end at the close of the exhibit in Philadelphia so that anyone in the area thinking about participating will have time to come down and examine the artifacts in person. Thanks for looking and I hope you will consider getting involved with my project!

Also, there's more info about me way at the bottom of this page.

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

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    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    FLOWN I.D. (DONOR LEVEL): Everyone who contributes to this project through kickstarter will have a name (theirs or one they choose) printed onto the mylar insulation of the ICARUS payload shell, which will be flown during the mission. The nanosatellite should attain an altitude of around 100,000 feet and enter the troposphere before returning to earth with its trove of collected data.

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    STAMPS (DONOR LEVEL):
    BPL will send you two (2) $0.44 Custom Made U.S. postage stamps, good for first class mail or repairing ripped memos. These things are emblazoned with BPL's logo and one of our catchy mottoes such as "Failure Is An Option", or "It's Not Rocket Science".

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    Pledge $11 or more About $11

    MISSION REPORTS (DONOR LEVEL):

    Choose one of BPL's Official Mission Reports, compendia of Office Memos, Production and Testing Digests, or Press Kits (see our website). Almost no expense has been spared or used in the preparation of these compelling documents. Too numerous to list here, suffice to say that each one is a work of art, composed, designed, bound, stamped, and otherwise processed in the bureaucratic labyrinth at BPL.

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    BPL -003 MISSION PATCH (DONOR LEVEL):

    The official BPL-003 Moranic Mission To Montana emblem. Features 'arrowhead' motif with cute pest rodent handling collection equipment, in true space mission design tradition. About 3" high. ** We will be producing a special run of these during the show in Philadelphia at the Esther Klein Art Gallery/Breadboard through Nextfab Studios on their new embroidery machine. ** Come see how the sausage gets made!

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    BPL 'RECYCLED' COFFEE MUGS (DONOR LEVEL):
    Our logo cleverly sandblasted over, and indeed, into, some other corporation's promotional ceramic coffee cup. We are considering calling this gesture 'pre-purposing', as we are doing the same thing with the same object, only more so. Your mug will feature our now familiar logo and some other random thrift-store flotsam. These are hand made by BPL's single employee on a borrowed piece of equipment (thanks, Evan!)

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    BPL STOCK CERTIFICATE (DONOR LEVEL):
    What's a company without stock? And what's a shareholder with a valueless piece of paper? Don't answer that-
    Unencumbered by the legal strictures of incorporation or adherence to any laws of governance, save for its own, BPL shares represent an unvarnished view of the health of the company. This beautifully designed and produced certificate will bear your name, that of a BPL Executive, Serial Number, and the official BPL Corporate Seal, for authenticity.

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    STEREO VIEWERS AND SET OF 5 PHOTOGRAMS (SPONSOR LEVEL):

    All proper space missions generate stereo photographs so that mission specialists can analyze terrain and samples in three dimensions. You get our custom made, (just for Kickstarter) stereo viewer, conceived, molded, cast, and finished by BPL's Co-Optics Expert, a set of five custom BPL Stereogram Cards with beautiful images printed thereupon, and verbose illustrated instruction sheet. The viewer even works with your iphone!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    MUNIN DESKTOP MODEL (UNDERWRITER LEVEL):
    This is a hand crafted 1/12 scale model of the Munin Spacecraft in its present configuration (for BPL-003, Moranic Mission To Montana). It comes complete with thematic base and wordy 'information' card. It is diligently produced in our Model Department by our Master Miniaturist from urethane resin and metal.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    BPL SCOUT PAINTING (UNDERWRITER LEVEL):

    Scouting missions in 2009 yielded gouache paintings by BPL's Rendition Department Chief. They depict potential landing zones and revisit locations in the Yellowstone region so memorably depicted by Thomas Moran. By the way, our multitalented Rendition Department Chief even has a degree in Painting, so there should be no question as to the quality of these unique items. Each painting is small, usually a few inches high and fewer than 12 wide, on archival paper, and signed, dated, and jotted with Moranic notation such as map coordinates, temperature, artist mood, etc. They are all from actual location visits in Montana.

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    Pledge US$ 300 or more About US$ 300

    PROJECT PARTICIPATION, NASCAR STYLE (UNDERWRITER LEVEL):

    You Know You Want it!- Your logo on a space ship! At this level, BPL wants you to understand that, (a), we see you as a real fan or something, and (b), you have a lot more discretionary - type dough than we do. Therefore, we want to congratulate you by giving you any one of the above items you want (from either Donor or Sponsor categories), and the chance to put your own name, logo, whatever 2-dimensional image you choose, on the deck of the Munin Spacecraft. We will work with you to create the image, as the graphic has to meet 'aerospace standards' and be within a four inch square envelope. We will give you a copy of the graphic, and only five of these will be produced: One for you, one flight unit, one backup, and two test units. This image will appear in BPL documents and Mission photos, not to mention a prominent place in your domicile, and on a real spaceship!

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    PROJECT PARTNER / ROADIE (UNDERWRITER LEVEL):

    In addition to the Participation offer above (which includes your choice of any one item from either Donor or Sponsor categories, as well as the placement of your graphic on the Munin spacecraft), you will be invited to attend BPL mission activities as a special guest. These events will include casting aluminum at our Provisional Foundry, either at our Brooklyn Facility or our New Hampshire Node; attendance of the opening night party in Philadelphia at the Esther Klein Art Gallery; attendance of a Lecture or two, also in Philadelphia, with party afterward, at which the BPL Chemist will present you with a delicious pie baked from scratch in our Test Kitchen; and best of all, an invitation to come to Livingston, Montana and either help with the launch of the mission, or go fishing. Or both. BPL will make sure you have a memorable experience, and hopefully a positive one too! At this level, you will also be invited to have a sneak peek at the next Phase of development and offered a special discount for the next generation of BPL Aerospacey hardware, software, and mediumware.

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Funding period

- (88 days)