Tag Archives: kickstarter

Back The Booster!

Continuing to highlight crowdfunding campaigns that will be of interest to readers, we’re featuring Back The Booster, a Kickstarter campaign to save a Saturn 5 rocket booster – the legendary biggest rocket booster in history.

Go to the campaign here to read more, and help save this important piece of history.

The Saturn 5. Credit: Kickstarter
Artist rendering of Saturn V S-IC exhibit location
Artist rendering of Saturn V S-IC exhibit location

Reboot the Suit – crowdfunding backing for Neil Armstrong’s Spacesuit

Reboot the Suit – crowdfunding backing for Neil Armstrong’s Spacesuit

You can help preserve a little bit of space history by supporting the Smithsonian’s campaign regarding Neil Armstrong’s Apollo spacesuit. Fun and incredible ‘rewards’ for donating include things from mission patches, space ice-cream to exclusive events in Washington DC. Check it out, and support another space fundraiser if you don’t support this one!


Crowdfunding helps science-fiction as well as science-fact

Crowdfunding is becoming a growing means of generating funding, making dreams become reality for space, and science projects; an empowering way for people to contribute to projects that they’d like to see reach fruition. In the interests of promoting spaceflight, this blog will promote active crowdfunding campaigns for worthy projects; get in touch and let us know what you’d like to see funded.

Recently we wrote about the Light Sail project run by The Planetary Society, which was a science success, but also a crowdfunding success, raising significantly more than their initial target.

It’s not always an entire space mission that is seeking funding, this great campaign from Final Frontier Design to fund development of their space suit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/872281861/final-frontier-designs-3g-space-suit/widget/video.html

It’s even sometimes a funding success for science-fiction, with a recent project called “Star Trek; Axanar” who are seeking further funding through crowdfunding website Indiegogo. A crew of “Star Trek” fans is taking the beloved franchise where it’s never been before: For a fraction of the cost of a Hollywood film, they plan to create a feature-length production funded by crowdfunding.

An initial fundraising campaign for the film, launched last year on Kickstarter, raised more than six times its $100,000 initial goal. At the time, the filmmakers estimated this feature film would cost up to $750,000, but the new campaign has announced a budget of just under $1 million.

The project’s creators, led by executive producer Alec Peters, now plan to break up the film into four episodes costing approximately $250,000 each. According to the crowdsourcing page, the project must raise an additional $80,000 per episode (making the total fundraising budget about $1.32 million) to cover the cost of using Indiegogo (the company takes a cut from projects funded on its site), as well as “ongoing studio costs” and “payment processing.” The extra money will also cover “perks” that are given to people who donate to the project.These include ‘rewards’ like a copy of the movie script, Starfleet patches, and photos signed by cast members.

Shooting is expected to start in November, with a tentative release date set for spring or summer 2016. Major stars in the film include Richard Hatch, Kate Vernon (both of “Battlestar: Galactica”), Gary Graham (“Star Trek: Enterprise”) and Tony Todd (“Candyman”, “Chuck”, “24”).

You can watch the trailer for the new movie here. There is also a 20-minute preview about the film, released last year, called “Prelude to Axanar,” which is available to watch online.

So check out whats going on from time to time and you too can actually do something practical to help make spaceflight projects a reality rather than just fiction.

Light Sail Comes back to life

You can support the Light Sail project through their kickstarter campaign Donate to Light Sail https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/theplanetarysociety/lightsail-a-revolutionary-solar-sailing-spacecraft?ref=nav_search

Mission managers say the shoebox-sized LightSail satellite powered up its tiny deployment motor Sunday, and data from the diminutive spacecraft indicate its experimental solar sail unfurled in orbit hundreds of miles above Earth.

The deployment sequence began at 3:47 p.m. EDT (1947 GMT) off the west coast of Baja California, when LightSail was in radio contact with a ground station in San Luis Obispo, California.

“Telemetry received on the ground showed motor counts climbing to the halfway point before LightSail traveled out of range,” wrote Jason Davis, a blogger who has provided daily updates since LightSail’s launch for the Planetary Society, which manages the mission. “Power levels were consistent with ground-based deployment tests, and the spacecraft’s cameras were on.”

Mission manager David Spencer said all indications are the sail deployment was proceeding as planned before LightSail flew over the horizon at the San Luis Obispo tracking site, according to Davis.

The deployment milestone marks the end of a nearly 19-day saga since LightSail’s successful launch May 20.

The Planetary Society, an advocacy group co-founded by legendary celebrity-astronomer Carl Sagan, led the development of LightSail with funding from private donors. NASA paid for the spacecraft’s launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket.

Sagan dreamed of a light-powered spaceship that could travel vast distances through space propelled by photons, the tiny particles that make up beams of light. If a spacecraft could harness light for propulsion, it could accelerate to great speeds without the need for conventional chemical rockets.

The Japanese space agency and NASA have flown solar sails in space before, and the Planetary Society aims to continue experimenting with the technology. Engineers built the LightSail craft currently in orbit to demonstrate the sail design before a more ambitious test in a higher orbit next year.

Since its launch, satellite fell silent twice, leaving engineers worrying the spacecraft was dead before they could even attempt the sail deployment. Officials blamed the problems on a software glitch and an issue with charging the spacecraft’s batteries.

LightSail radioed home Saturday, and ground controllers scrambled to beam up commands to unwind the booms holding the satellite’s four triangular Mylar sails at the earliest opportunity Sunday.

Before LightSail’s launch, the flight plan called for the solar sail to deploy 28 days after liftoff. But with the spacecraft seemingly in precarious health, officials opted to unfurl the sail early.

The first try Sunday did not work, but engineers sent commands to activate LightSail’s deployment motor when it flew over California again about 90 minutes later, and telemetry showed the motor was moving before the satellite flew out of range.

“We couldn’t get signals to and from our LightSail on the first orbital pass, so we tried again on our next orbit — and it worked! We’ve learned a lot about perseverance on this test mission,” said Bill Nye, the Planetary Society’s CEO. “Although it’s in inertial space, LightSail has had me on a rollercoaster. I want to thank the engineering team; they’ve done fantastic work. I especially want to thank our supporters and members, who made this success possible. We are advancing space science and exploration. This mission is part of our mission.”

The next chance for the ground team to hear from LightSail will occur early Monday, when officials hope to confirm the completion of the sail deployment and receive images from cameras aboard the satellite.

If the sail is fully unfurled, it covers an area as big as a home’s master bedroom, or about 344 square feet. Its guiding booms extend 26 feet, or about 8 meters, tip-to-tip, according to Stellar Exploration, the company that manufactured LightSail under a contract with the Planetary Society.

Japan’s Ikaros solar sail is the largest such structure ever deployed in space. It launched as a piggyback payload with the Akatsuki probe to Venus in 2010.

LightSail was designed to extend to a size 80 times its dimensions when packed up for launch inside the satellite, which is based on the popular CubeSat platform and weighs about 10 pounds.

The sail’s membrane is just 4.5 microns thick, one-fourth the thickness of an average trash bag, but its highly reflective coating could make it visible to observers on the ground around sunrise and sunset.

The Planetary Society has a website showing LightSail’s current projected position and the time of its next flyover, based on your device’s current location. The spacecraft’s track takes it between 55 degrees north and south latitude each time around Earth.

Ted Molczan, a respected amateur satellite tracking hobbyist from Canada, said the solar sail will increase the amount of drag pulling LightSail back to Earth.

LightSail flew at an altitude as low as 220 miles on each orbit before Sunday’s deployment, but Molczan said the satellite will quickly fall back into the atmosphere and burn up. He predicted LightSail’s re-entry would occur some time early Wednesday, but cautioned there is high uncertainty in the satellite’s orbit.

Written by Stephen Clark originally for spaceflightnow.com