Kickstarter plasma thruster could launch nano-satellites for cheap

A Kickstarter project is attempting to raise funds for a plasma thruster that will propel mini satellites into deep space for a 1/1,000th of the cost of previous missions.
The CAT plasma thruster will be able to push 5kg nanosatellites called CubeSats far beyond Earth’s orbit. Before the system is ready to propel satellites into deep space, it will first need to be tested on the ground and within these Earth’s orbit. If enough funding is secured, two spacecraft will be launched into interplanetary space.
Usually CubeSats piggyback on larger rockets, drift around the Earth, trapped in their original orbit until they eventually de-orbit and burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. The idea is to send the little satellites much deeper in space, and use them for a variety of different purposes, including searching for life, gathering data about solar flares and the aurora, inspecting asteroids. They could also be used as network nodes to provide cheap global internet access, more current satellite photos and better global weather observations. The engineers behind the project have even suggested they might be able to create an interplanetary internet.
The minimum donation is $5 (£3.32), but if you’re hoping to get your name etched on a spacecraft panel, like an “interplanetary message in a bottle”, you’ll need to cough up a minimum of $60 (£39.81). If being part of a grand exploratory space mission with your name plastered on the side isn’t quite personalised enough for you, there’s  another Kickstarter project looking for funding at the moment that allows you design and launch your own tiny spacecraft.
The project is being run by the University of Michigan’s Aerospace Engineering department working in collaboration with several NASA research centres, and at the time of writing, the has raised $1,120 (£743) of its $200,000 (£133,000) target. If you want to donate, head over to  its Kickstarter page by 5 August.


Credit: Katie Collins/wired.co.uk

Kickstarter plasma thruster could launch nano-satellites for cheap

A Kickstarter project is attempting to raise funds for a plasma thruster that will propel mini satellites into deep space for a 1/1,000th of the cost of previous missions.

The CAT plasma thruster will be able to push 5kg nanosatellites called CubeSats far beyond Earth’s orbit. Before the system is ready to propel satellites into deep space, it will first need to be tested on the ground and within these Earth’s orbit. If enough funding is secured, two spacecraft will be launched into interplanetary space.

Usually CubeSats piggyback on larger rockets, drift around the Earth, trapped in their original orbit until they eventually de-orbit and burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. The idea is to send the little satellites much deeper in space, and use them for a variety of different purposes, including searching for life, gathering data about solar flares and the aurora, inspecting asteroids. They could also be used as network nodes to provide cheap global internet access, more current satellite photos and better global weather observations. The engineers behind the project have even suggested they might be able to create an interplanetary internet.

The minimum donation is $5 (£3.32), but if you’re hoping to get your name etched on a spacecraft panel, like an “interplanetary message in a bottle”, you’ll need to cough up a minimum of $60 (£39.81). If being part of a grand exploratory space mission with your name plastered on the side isn’t quite personalised enough for you, there’s another Kickstarter project looking for funding at the moment that allows you design and launch your own tiny spacecraft.

The project is being run by the University of Michigan’s Aerospace Engineering department working in collaboration with several NASA research centres, and at the time of writing, the has raised $1,120 (£743) of its $200,000 (£133,000) target. If you want to donate, head over to its Kickstarter page by 5 August.

Credit: Katie Collins/wired.co.uk


Posted 9 months ago with 229 notes
Tagged:Astronomyspacetechnologynano-satellitesplasma thrustersciencekickstarter

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    So now we are kick-starting space missions? Nice :3
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