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Innovation Almanac: SkyCube

The crowd-funded, twittering nano-satellite.

 A computer rendering of the SkyCube in orbit.

Space exploration not just for the NASA brave. That’s the idea behind Tim DeBenedictis’s Kickstarter-funded project—SkyCube, “The First Satellite Launched By You.” In September, the SF-based creator of cool star chart app, SkySafari, will piggyback the four-pound, four-inch cuboid nano-satellite (known as a CubeSat) on a Space X rocket bound for Earth’s orbit, allowing anyone with the app to request low to mid-res color images of earth and have it sent to their Smart Phone.

SkyCube will also broadcast a 120-character Tweet personalized by each Kickstarter sponsor. “We surveyed [them] to ask what they would Tweet,” DeBenedictis said. “Everything from ‘Happy Birthday,’ to ‘OMG we survived the Mayan apocalypse!’” After 90 days and a whopping 900,000 Tweets (that’s a tweet every 10 seconds), an 8-gram CO2 cartridge will inflate a 10-foot-wide balloon, and drag the satellite down towards earth.

Light hitting its reflective surface will make it as visible as a first-magnitude star before it vaporizes, like a meteor, in the upper atmosphere. “A poetic grand finale,” DeBenedictis said. Poetic indeed, like this sponsor’s tweet: “A haiku from space, is very scintillating, hello from the sky”—or in this case, the Twitterverse. 

Read More of Our Innovation Almanac:
Stanford's Benign Mind Control
The Forever Clock
Bacteria Mapper
Fire Station Health Care

Cree: Building the Future
No More Double Clicking
A Friendlier Vibrator
SkyCube
Social Networking for Disaster Prep

 

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