SkyCube: The First Satellite Launched by You!

A nano-satellite that lets you take Earth images and “tweet” from space, then inflates a visible balloon, and de-orbits cleanly.

SkyCube will take low-resolution pictures of the Earth and broadcast simple messages uploaded by sponsors.  After 90 days, it will use an 8-gram CO2 cartridge to inflate a 10-foot (3-meter) diameter balloon coated with highly reflective titanium dioxide powder.  SkyCube’s balloon will make the satellite as bright as the Hubble Space Telescope or a first-magnitude star.  You’ll be able to see it with your own eyes, sailing across the sky.  But SkyCube’s balloon isn’t just for visibility.  It will – within 3 weeks – bring SkyCube down from orbit due to atmospheric drag, ending the mission cleanly in a fiery “grand finale” that avoids any buildup of space debris.

The mission will utilize a 915 MHz CubeSat ground station communication network operated by the US Navy, the Boeing Corporation, and the University of Utah. During ground station passes, the satellite will transmit images to the network, which are then forwarded via internet to sponsors who have requested them from our iOS, Android, and web apps.

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