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Let's launch a 3D printed miniature Death Star into SPACE with fully functional LASER's to celebrate Star Wars: Episode IX
Let's launch a 3D printed miniature Death Star into SPACE with fully functional LASER's to celebrate Star Wars: Episode IX
101 backers pledged $18,524 to help bring this project to life.

About

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    • English
    • Español (España)
    • Русский

$18,524

101

TL;DR Launching a fully operational Death Star into space & bringing a piece of you with me. 

Hello World! My name is Blaze Sanders. I’m an ex-NASA engineer, and I love Star Wars. Clearly. I’ll be launching a miniature yet fully operational Death Star into space (100 km) above Earth. You can guess what happens once they’re in space... 

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WAIT. WHAT?! WHY?! 

See FAQ's at  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/solx/death-star-in-space/faqs 

  • Are you causing more orbital debris?
  • LASER in space, is that legal...?
  • How much does rocket launch cost to get into space?
  • Why, this is a huge waste of money!?!?

A full scale Death Star is completely impractical. The cost for a full scale 120 km diameter Death Star (DS-1) would be ~$850 quadrillion (by estimate of this government proposal).

Turns out a 10 cm (3.93 inch) scale model is not only practical, but doable!  This has been on my bucket list for years and I’m finally going for it (see Medium story)! It’s a celebration of Star Wars through and through, with the campaign ending on the weekend of May the 4th and the Death Star returning to Earth for the premiere of Star Wars Episode IX (SQUEEE!) 

Press Release with HD Photos & Videos:  www.deathstarinspace.com/presskit 

Note: Non-English and deaf Earthlings please see video script text at bottom of page. We would love help improving our closed captions and translating into Russia and Spanish :) 

At the core of our Death Star is a space tolerant printed circuit board (PCB), complete with a 0.150 Watt LASER (8 Watts if we reach our stretch goals!).  The internal PCB's will be etched and then gold-plated with Kickstarter backer names onto either a Jedi blue, Ahsoka Tano white, or Sith red PCB at the core of the space station.

Everything is packed in a heat resistant, flame retardant ULTEM 9085 3D printed spherical shell (Aluminium if we meet our stretch goals!). Once in orbit, multiple ‘Alderaan's’ will be released, the LASER will power up, and we’ll demonstrate the power of the Empire. Fear, then, will keep the local systems in line. Before Dec 20, 2019 (Star Wars Episode IX premiere date) one lucky backer will receive the Death Star after its parachute landing in New Mexico.

We are making the suborbital PCB's space tolerate by using Roger 4003 based PCB material, thermal spreaders, dual solder mask color, via paste fill, tin-whisker free solder chemistry, and thermally conductive vibration proofing epoxy. This is in preparation for a six month mission to low earth orbit (LEO), another one of our stretch goals.

If you want to construct your own battle station for a STEM outreach project, we have already open sourced bug filled hardware and software at www.deathstarinspace.com 

Figure 0 - Prototype four layer blue, white, and red PCB's. We will gold plate with Kickstarter funds.
Figure 0 - Prototype four layer blue, white, and red PCB's. We will gold plate with Kickstarter funds.

After college, I worked at NASA for two years, where I learned to manage the risks involved with a project like this. 1.5 years ago I started planning a simple suborbital mission, with 8 months of delay built into the schedule. At that time my main focus was getting six different rocket companies to quote the launch price, and now we have five paths to space (you need backups in the aerospace industry)!  I’ve already reserved space on a 5.5 meter United Frontiers Discovery X rocket, so regardless of what happens with this Kickstarter, I will be putting something in space. My current backup item is a big surprise for my sister :) 

Figure 1 - US Rockets / United Frontier prototype rocket launched in 2017. Click image for TECH deatils.
Figure 1 - US Rockets / United Frontier prototype rocket launched in 2017. Click image for TECH deatils.
Figure 2 - United Frontier Discovery X1A  rocket (CAD) launching Q4 2019. Click image for website.
Figure 2 - United Frontier Discovery X1A rocket (CAD) launching Q4 2019. Click image for website.
Figure 3 - Eclipse Orbital System Umbraphile rocket (CAD) launching Q1 2020. Click image to book flight.
Figure 3 - Eclipse Orbital System Umbraphile rocket (CAD) launching Q1 2020. Click image to book flight.
Figure 4 - Space Ops 5 kN (1124 lbs) engine test firing of the Rocky 1 rocket. Click image for Twitter page.
Figure 4 - Space Ops 5 kN (1124 lbs) engine test firing of the Rocky 1 rocket. Click image for Twitter page.
Figure 5 - Electron- rocket art launch complex 1 in New Zealand. Clicked image to BOOK flight!
Figure 5 - Electron- rocket art launch complex 1 in New Zealand. Clicked image to BOOK flight!

Galactic credits will not make this happen, but WE THE PEOPLE can launch a 10 centimeter / 3.93 inch diameter Death Star into space by grabbing the attention of Walt Disney and the partially fractured Star Wars fandom before May the 4th. Let's bring balance to the force!

Table 1 Key: B = Base KS ($18,420), 1+ (1st Strech Goal),  2+ (2nd Strecth Goal), and etc. It's critical Table 2 Cell O2 > Table 1 Grand Total  or Up Goer Five does not go to space! 

Table 1 - Use of funds accountability break down. Click image to view Mission Definition Review (MDR).
Table 1 - Use of funds accountability break down. Click image to view Mission Definition Review (MDR).
Table 2 - Click image to view open source Kickstarter Reward Analysis Spreadsheet.
Table 2 - Click image to view open source Kickstarter Reward Analysis Spreadsheet.
  • +$1,000 - Upgrade LASER power output by factor of 50  (from 0.150 to 8 Watts)
  • ++$1,500 - Work w/ United Frontiers to put a HD camera inside the rocket fairing section
  • +++$2,000 - 3D print metal Death Star outer shell using Aluminum on i.materialize.com 
  • ++++$19,000 - Backup suborbital launch on Space Ops Australia rocket from down under
  • +++++$85,000 - Go to Low Earth Orbit (LEO - 500 km) w/ Rocket Lab for 6 month mission

 The long term goal of this project is to send a Death Star into Low Earth Orbit (LEO)  for at least 6 months and turn on its LASERS to transmit power to another CubeSat and/or send peoples names via light out of the solar system. That is why we are making even the suborbital PCB's space tolerate by using Roger 4003 based PCB material, thermal spreaders, dual solder mask color, via paste fill, tin-whisker free solder chemistry, and thermally conductive vibration proofing epoxy in preparation for this long term goal.  

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$1 / The force is strong with (thank) you Every dollar counts and your interest means a lot to us, therefore in addition to the BACKER only updates, we will send you a personalized digital badge. Created by Michael Mooring and Blair Gordon this badge symbolizes a Parallax microcontroller inside a spherical space station shell. Feel free to share your personalized badge on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to help spread the word! 

$4 / 3D model download and CAD & YouTube URL:

Do you have access to a 3D printer and want to print your own battle station? If so, we will send you two digital 3D CAD model files (.STP and .STL) which have all the internal structures to mount the electronics used in this project. We will also send you a URL so you can view and comment on the CAD model to suggest changes before we send the final file out to backers. Just don't turn to the dark side of the force... Three months before our rocket launch (Sept 2019) you will receive the finalized 3D model and a private YouTube livestream URL to chat with the team for 1 hour before we send everything into space. 

Using a model from Adam Robinson on GrabCAD as a starting point, Blaze Sanders updated the file by hollowing out the center. This saves 3D printing material and allows electronics to be mounted securely inside using metal inserts and M3 bolts. A

Figure 6 - First test fit of 3D models with silver supercapacitors visible
Figure 6 - First test fit of 3D models with silver supercapacitors visible

REPLACE IMAGE ABOVE WITH CGI FINAL RENDER THAT REMOVES SUPER CAPS???

$9 / Digital Name in Space (on microchip) 

We have already loaded the names of 24 Star Wars cast members onto a memory chip of the prototype hardware as a test. Join them on a hero's adventure to outer space by sending your name (or any 32 character text message) along with them.  

Figure 7 - Click this image to tweet image and Kickstarter link to Star Wars cast!
Figure 7 - Click this image to tweet image and Kickstarter link to Star Wars cast!

 $25 / Physical Name in Space and BACK 

Select the color printed circuit board (PCB) that best represents your relationship with the force (or perhaps choose the lightsaber color you would build for yourself). This PCB will be made of aerospace quality Roger 4003 material and your name will be etched in copper and then gold plated. Your name (or any 32 character long text message) will be mounted to the inside of the top half of the Death Star and then shipped to you after returning from space! 

  • Blue -  Light side Jedi Guardian and skilled lightsaber warrior (Obi-Wan Kenobi)
  • White - Grey Jedi focused on the living force, not the old ways of the Order (Ahsoka Tano)
  • Red - Dark side Sith with more powerful blades fueled by passion (Darth Vader) 
Figure 8 - Prototype four layer blue, white, and red PCB's. Click image for open source files!
Figure 8 - Prototype four layer blue, white, and red PCB's. Click image for open source files!

$40 / Two launch party tickets + Digital Name in Space

Join the fire filled party at Spaceport America (or backup locations - see risks below) in New Mexico late 2019. Airplane tickets to get to Spaceport America are NOT included, but if YOU are the first person to back us on this level AND live within CA, NV, UT, AZ, NM, TX, or OK then you my friend are welcome to car pool in a Tesla Model 3 with us. 

Figure 9 - Spaceport America in New Mexico
Figure 9 - Spaceport America in New Mexico

$80 or $320 / 22 x 22 x 15 mm payload slot into space +  Digital Name in Space + 3D model 

Want to send something personal into space (and BACK)?  How about a wedding ring, a LEGO piece, your hair, a DIY experiment, or etc. The EARLY BIRD price is only $80 because I felt like anyone should be able to afford to send something into space in their lifetime.The only limit is that the item must be non-living and not explode (too much), we will verify with you before the close of the Kickstarter that your item has a GO to fly. Just mail your item to our Oakland, CA office by Sept 2019 and we will make it happen. Note: 100% chance of object return is not guaranteed. Rockets and Death Stars often blow up especially if Luke Skywalker (@hamillhimself) is around. 

Figure 10 - Payload dimensions and locations. Click image to see open source CAD drawing.
Figure 10 - Payload dimensions and locations. Click image to see open source CAD drawing.

$135 /  STS-135 Signatures: 

Be the proud owner of space history.  Receive signatures of all four astronauts from the final NASA Space Shuttle mission (STS-135) on a colored 8.5 x 11 inch poster. Pictured right to left (ladies first): Sandra Magnus, Christopher Ferguson, Douglas Hurley, and Rex Walheim

Figure 11 - Signatures of the final Space Shuttle crew gifted while working at NASA. Click to learn more.
Figure 11 - Signatures of the final Space Shuttle crew gifted while working at NASA. Click to learn more.

$160 / 3D Printed Model + Digital Name in Space 

That's NO Moon! It's a 10 cm diameter fully operational battle station. We will print and ship a grey, 60% fill, 100 um layer, plastic PLA shell to you. Note: We are still fine tuning the internal support structure and bolt patterns for metallic 3D printing, as shown in the development figure 12 below and figure 10 above. Also be aware that NO electronics are included with this reward. 

Figure 12 - Mounting slots for both 0.150 & 8 Watt LASER's, 10 Physical Name in Space PCB's and 7 bolts.
Figure 12 - Mounting slots for both 0.150 & 8 Watt LASER's, 10 Physical Name in Space PCB's and 7 bolts.
Figure 13 - Development history of the both 3D printed sphere halves. From ping pong ball to sexy PLA!
Figure 13 - Development history of the both 3D printed sphere halves. From ping pong ball to sexy PLA!

$600 / Construct your own Death Star + Digital Name in Space 

For those with a good feeling about this, we can send you all the parts to build your own Death Star (in less then 20 years hopefully). Once complete you should bring it to the Star Wars Episode IX premiere Dec 2019,  and flex your Star Wars geek power.

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$4500 / Space flown fully operational station + Digital Name in Space + Launch tickets

Get the 1st Death Star to ever go to outer space and back. What will it look like after flying to space and back - will it explode or will it look similar to the SpaceX Dragon 2?!?! Note: The PCB's with peoples names and personal items will be removed before shipment to you. 

Figure 14 - Crew Dragon is on SpaceX’s recovery vessel March 2019.
Figure 14 - Crew Dragon is on SpaceX’s recovery vessel March 2019.

Software

We are currently writing SPIN code that runs on the Parallax Propeller microcontroller, which makes this project great for STEM education outreach. Kids (< 18) can add/push code into the DSiS Github at STEM-Code.spin and send their code into space for FREE! Learn how to send your code into space on Episode 1 of the DSiS Podcast - posted at the bottom of the web page at www.deathstarinspace.com/engineering

Hardware

We have built two prototypes so far to test and down select the components needed to fulfill our MDR requirements. We have verified that the 150 mW LASER system works and can be controlled by L298 full H bridge software. That our supercapacitor voltage regulators work as expected and can power the Parallax microcontroller long enough (7 days) to complete its mission. The Parallax microcontroller has already flown to space on the NASA PhoneSat mission, so we know its up to the challenge. Additional open source details can be found at www.deathstarinspace.com/engineering with development history pictures below.

Working LASER prototype built during Space StartUp Weekend 2014 & Space App Challenge  2015
Working LASER prototype built during Space StartUp Weekend 2014 & Space App Challenge 2015
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CLOSED CAPTIONING  VIDEO SCRIPT FOR DEAF & NON-ENGLISH

[ZERO-G FLOAT IN FROM SCREEN RIGHT]

Hello World. My name is Blaze Sanders, and I'll be sending a Death Star into space. Did I mention it was fully operational?

[SWELLING MUSIC AND LASER SOUNDS]

 As an ex-NASA engineer and a huge star wars fan, I’ve been wanting to put a Death Star into space for years. The completion of the 42 year journey from a New Hope  to Episode 9 seemed like the perfect time to do it and I just wanted to give Star Wars fans everywhere a chance to join in. [JAZZY MUSIC]

After two years of mission planning and hardware hacking, I’ve finally booked a payload slot on a 5.5 meter United Frontiers Discovery X rocket to blast our battle station past the Karman line, which is the defining altitude for outer space.

Once in space, eight miniature Alderaan’s will be released. The LASER will power up, and the Galaxy will know the full power of the Empire...

[EXPLOSION SOUNDS IN SPACE? :)]

at 1/ 1,000,000th scale :)

Backers will be able to put their name in a space flown memory chip, or get their name etched and gold plated in a Jedi Blue, Ahsoka Tano white, or Sith red Printed Circuit Board, or even get the entire space station after the flight.

DS-1 will launch in Q4 of 2019 and return to Earth for the Star Wars 9 premiere on December 20th. For fans everywhere, I’ve already open sourced the hardware and software, available at www.deathstarinspace.com

So that’s the plan! We have some pretty cool rewards, some awesome stretch goals. So please join me on this crazy hero’s journey to put a death star into space. Spread the word, tell your friends, and may the force be with you...always.

[EPIC MUSIC!]

(1) How was that Beau?

(2) It was awesome!

(1) Was it the best acting you have ever seen in your life?

(2) Oh was that Blaze? I thought you hired somebody?

Risks and challenges

Hey Disney, this Kickstarter project (not product) is non-profit (no person is getting salary) and STEM outreach focused. It's a "Transformative" use of DIsney IP because it includes complex engineering additions such as; supercapacitors, custom 4 layer PCB's with human names, and is enclosed in a 1U CubeSat form factor. This project is also not in competition with any Disney / Star Wars related video, movie, or TV show products. See Disney Trademark Infringement: Everything You Need to Know at https://goo.gl/dVVkWE

I have already paid for a suborbital rocket launch, so no matter what, something will be going into space and back. My backup object is a big surprise for my sister :) That said we understand the risks that come along with this project including; reward fulfillment cutting away from capital needed to finish the project, United Frontiers mission getting delayed more than 6 months, our hardware being delayed because of requirement creep and failed hardware stress tests. That said we have built delays into the schedule, since things always take three times as long as you plan for :) Also if we miss Star Wars IX we could try again on the next movie release.

The first risk (reward fulfillment) has been carefully analyzed. We have studied five different space Kickstarters to see where they went wrong (uninspiring rewards, man hour expensive / hard to build rewards, too many rewards, etc) and created the following open source Kickstarter business analysis spreadsheet (https://tinyurl.com/y6nqt9g4) to make sure we stay on budget and determine if we can realistically fulfill this project.

The second risk (United Frontiers is delayed more then 6 months) has been reduced via 3 backup solutions. First, I have joined Eclipse Orbital Systems with fellow ex-NASA and ex-Tesla friends of many years to build Umbraphile, a 16 foot tall hybrid rocket. We will be launching from Kodiak Spaceport in Alaska in Q3 2019 and are accepting payload and rocket engine purchase inquiries now (https://www.eclipseorbital.com/flightbooking). Second, Space Ops Australia has hardware ready to fly in Q4 2019 and I have signed their launch Reservation & Service agreement contracts. We just need to raise the stretch goal of $19K to pay the balance. Third, Vector Launch could get us to ORBIT if we raise the $150K stretch goal. and lastly NASA gives away free / low cost rides to space if they are STEM focused. Which we are by being open source and by letting students write code that will go to space. Check out the following link for details https://www.nasa.gov/content/about-cubesat-launch-initiative

The third risk (hardware requirement creep and failed stress tests) has been greatly reduced using NASA's System Design Review method, 3D printing eight versions of the shells and assembling three versions of the PCB in China. We have tested the LASER's on Earth and dropped the fully assembled system (40 G's) on to wooden tables to test for robustness :)

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00

    The force is strong with (thank) you:

    Thank you for the support. Every dollar counts and your interest means a lot to us, therefore in addition to the BACKER only updates (behind-the-scene look at the construction of project stardust), we will send you a personalized digital badge. Feel free to share your personalized badge on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (@HamillHimself) to help spread the word!

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    Pledge US$ 4 or more About US$ 4

    3D model download and CAD & YouTube URL:

    Get two digital 3D CAD model files (.STP and .STL) which have all the internal structures to mount the electronics used in this project. We will also send you a URL so you can view and comment on the CAD model to suggest changes before we send the final file out to backers. Just don't turn to the dark side of the force.. One month before launch you will receive the finalized 3D model and a private YouTube livestream URL to join the fun and chat with the team for 1 hour before we send everything into space.

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    • The force is strong with (thank) you:
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    Pledge US$ 9 or more About US$ 9

    Digital name in space (on microchip):

    Put your name (or any 32 character long text message) in space on a 256K memory chip (EEPROM). We have already loaded the names of 24 Star Wars cast members onto a memory chip in the prototype hardware as a test. Join them on a hero's adventure to outer space by sending your name along with them.

    Includes:
    • The force is strong with (thank) you:
    • 3D model download & private CAD URL:
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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Physical name in space (and BACK):

    Put your name (or any 32 character long text message) in space with Daisy Ridey (Rey) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and get a spaceflight flown piece of hardware back in your hands. Select the color printed circuit board (PCB) that best represents your relationship with the force or perhaps choose the lightsaber color you would build for yourself. The PCB will be made of aerospace quality Roger 4003 material and your name will be etched in copper and then gold plated. Your name (or any 32 character long text message) will be mounted to the inside of the top half of the Death Star and then shipped to you after returning from space!

    Includes:
    • The force is strong with (thank) you:
    • 3D model download & private CAD URL:
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    Pledge US$ 40 or more About US$ 40

    Two launch party tickets:

    Join the fire filled party at Spaceport America in New Mexico late 2019. Airplane tickets to get to Spaceport America are NOT included, but if YOU are the first person to back us on this level AND live within CA, NV, UT, AZ, NM, TX, or OK you my friend are welcome to car pool in a Tesla Model 3 with us. This reward includes a free $9 Digital name in space (on microchip) reward with it :)

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    • The force is strong with (thank) you:
    • Digital name in space (on microchip):
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    Pledge US$ 80 or more About US$ 80

    22 x 22 x 15 mm payload slot into space:

    Want to send something personal into space (and BACK)? How about a wedding ring, a LEGO piece, your hair, a DIY experement, or etc Well here is your chance. Just mail your item to our Oakland office by Sept 2019 and we will make it happen. 100% chance of object return is not guaranteed rockets and Death Star often blow up especially if Luke Skywalker (@hamillhimself) is around. FYI The DSiS project will be putting a Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader LEGO piece inside for fun and to see who wins!

    Includes:
    • The force is strong with (thank) you:
    • Digital name in space (on microchip):
    • 3D model download & private CAD URL:
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    Pledge US$ 135 or more About US$ 135

    STS-135 Signatures:

    Be the proud owner of space history. Receive signatures of all four (4) astronauts of the final NASA Space shuttle mission STS-135 on a colored 8.5 x 11 inch poster. Pictured left to right: Rex Walheim, Douglas Hurley,Christopher Ferguson, and Sandra Magnus

    Includes:
    • The force is strong with (thank) you:
    • 3D model download & private CAD URL:
    • Physical name in space (and BACK):
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    Pledge US$ 135 or more About US$ 135

    Four STS-135 Signatures:

    Be the proud owner of space history. Receive signatures of all four (4) astronauts of the final NASA Space shuttle mission STS-135 on a colored 8.5 x 11 inch poster. Pictured left to right: Rex Walheim, Douglas Hurley,Christopher Ferguson, and Sandra Magnus

    Includes:
    • The force is strong with (thank) you:
    • 3D model download & private CAD URL:
    • Physical name in space (and BACK):
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 160 or more About US$ 160

    3D printed Death Star model:

    That's NO Moon! Its a 10 cm diameter miniature fully operational battle station! If you don't have access to a 3D printer we can print and ship a shell to you. Electronics are NOT included with this reward.

    Includes:
    • The force is strong with (thank) you:
    • Digital name in space (on microchip):
    • 3D model download & private CAD URL:
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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    37 mm diameter spherical payload slot:

    This is the only reward with TWO Physical and TWO Digital Name in Space rewards included!

    Want to send something personal into space (and BACK)? How about a baby announcement, wedding ring, atiny towel, a LEGO piece, your hair, a DIY experiment, or any item that can fit inside a 37 mm diameter sphere. Well here is your chance. Just mail your item to our Oakland office by Sept 2019 and we will make it happen. 100% chance of object return is not guaranteed rockets and Death Star often blow up especially if Luke Skywalker (@hamillhimself) is around. FYI The DSiS project will be putting a Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader LEGO piece inside for fun and to see who wins!

    Includes:
    • Physical name in space (and BACK):
    • Digital name in space (on microchip):
    • 3D model download & private CAD URL:
    • The force is strong with (thank) you:
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    Pledge US$ 320 or more About US$ 320

    FULL PRICE 22 x 22 x 15 mm payload slot:

    Want to send something personal into space (and BACK)? How about a wedding ring, a LEGO piece, your hair, a DIY experement, or etc Well here is your chance. Just mail your item to our Oakland office by Sept 2019 and we will make it happen. 100% chance of object return is not guaranteed rockets and Death Star often blow up especially if Luke Skywalker (@hamillhimself) is around. FYI The DSiS project will be putting a Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader LEGO piece inside for fun and to see who wins!

    Includes:
    • The force is strong with (thank) you:
    • Digital name in space (on microchip):
    • 3D model download & private CAD URL:
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 600 or more About US$ 600

    Construct your own Battle Station:

    For those with a good feeling about this, we can send you all the parts to build your own Death Star (in less then 20 years hopefully). Once complete bring it to Star Wars Episode IX Dec 2019, and flex your Star Wars geek power. his reward level comes with a full scale (100 mm diameter) 3D printed Death Star sphere and all the electronics.

    Includes:
    • The force is strong with (thank) you:
    • 3D model download & private CAD URL:
    • Physical name in space (and BACK):
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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 4,500 or more About US$ 4,500

    Space flown fully operational station:

    Get the 1st Death Star to ever go to outer space and back. What will it look like after flying to space and back?!?! Note: The PCB with peoples names and personal items will be removed before shipment to you.

    Includes:
    • The force is strong with (thank) you:
    • 3D model download & private CAD URL:
    • Digital name in space (on microchip):
    • Physical name in space (and BACK):
    • Two launch party tickets:
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Funding period

- (25 days)