I feel a disturbance in "The Force"
Its like thousand of students screamed in horror as their work was incinerated in a fiery ball of plasma death. Something terrible has happened.
oh, and May the 4th be with you, or is that Revenge of the Fifth?
Bad news for lovers of amateur space exploration: a crowd-funded project that managed to send aloft 100 tiny satellites around Earth looks set to fail. The project in question is the KickSat, which kicked off in 2011 with the promise to create 100 satellites, each about the size of a pair of postage stamps and dubbed 'Sprites …
Surely someone has to have a laser I can "borrow" for an afternoon.
Its not like it needs much power, 2-10 KW directed at it ought to be more than enough and there are areas in Nevada that have no air traffic which are also used for Lightcraft etc.
Scratch building a multi kilowatt class IR laser in 3 weeks with a budget of say £50K still offsets the loss of an expensive satellite PLUS you get to keep the laser.
Even a basic CO2 can put out maybe 300W so a bundle of those made from parts at Home Depot and salvaged from scrap microwaves would be relatively cheap although power might be a slight problem.
"Sometimes your budget only allows you to plan for 20% of the foreseeable issues."That would've been a fine excuse in 1960. Since then, we've sent up sats with detectors on, and even dedicated sats. We know what the environment up there is like, and it's not even amongst the "secret" data. Radiation is more than foreseeable.
Their orbit seems to be extremely low (which makes things easier as the atmosphere will shield them a lot better), but for example in one of my recent projects we were seeing a radiation triggered glitch in a simple op-amp at least once a day. You then analyse the effects of those glitches and design the system to ignore or cope with them. Resetting a 16 day timer on a mission with a lifetime of less than a month does not sound sensible.
> Radiation is more than foreseeable.
Yes you could have bought rad hard chips for 10x the price, assuming you could get export permission, and you could only have launched 1/10 as many satellites because the rad hard chips are bigger, lower performance and higher power requirement.
Then you should build 5 backup systems and a voting controller, and large enough solar panels to power them, and make them deployable, and by the time you've done this you migtt as well just put a crew onboard - so your $25 nano-say becomes the ISS
"Anything worth doing, is worth doing right"
Fine if you don't have a tight budget restriction to work to. Not viable if you do. Reliability is always the first thing to suffer when you try to do things cheaply... which was the entire point of the project.
This was a shoestring project where lots of things could go wrong. Yet it inspired people to donate and take an interest in the technology and space. Even in failure it's been educational.
Calling the people behind it stupid and short-sighted while equipped with both hindsight and anonymity is frankly lame.
" they're designing satellite mission payloads while we're commenting on internet forums."
And getting paid for it. While us physicists knew what would happen (but the Web 2.0 kickstarters presumably don't include many technologists).
"Who's dumbest?" is an easier question though. The folks who donated to something whose chances of success were inevitably small, maybe?
If I may don my favourite tin-foil hat for a second...
What if they just SAID they struck a deal with SpaceX.
What if they just SAID it went into orbit and was due to release it's payload on May the fourth.
What if they just SAID the mission failed due to a convincing sounding issue with 'radiation'.
And what if they'd planned this all along and ran off with some major moolah.
I wonder if their computer system had redundancy...
You woukd think they would, as even the amateur high altitude balloon people have used , well essentially triply redundant arduino arrays, and have been able to detect and report back the number of times their cpus have been affected by radiation.. iirc around half dozen 'events' at balloon altitudes..
You would think the amsat community designed their previous sats sanely too, as some of them are still up there and working..
But then, are thess people just some random dudes that threw together a kickstarter and ignored the experiences of amateur satellite operators that came before them, or did they indeed have best practice design and got hit by too much radiation for their redundancy to cope with?
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