Image of John Vasquez of the Naval Research Laboratory John Vasquez of the Naval Research Laboratory prepares Starshine 1 for vibration test. Photo by
Michael A. Savell.

Starshine 4/5 Update - December 14, 2001

Great News! NASA has firmly manifested our Starshine 4 and 5 satellites on the STS-114 Shuttle mission to the International Space Station in January of 2003. We will make one of the satellites heavy and the other light. By tracking two satellites of the same external configuration but with different masses, we'll be able to measure the earth's atmospheric density to even greater precision than we've been able to do thus far.

We're now accepting applications for mirror polishing kits for the Starshine 4/5 mission. You can find the application form for a kit by scrolling down this home page until you find the heading, "School Participation Request." We will send three mirrors in each kit. Please polish them all and send us your best two. We'll fly one on Starshine 4 and one on Starshine 5. You may keep your third best for your school trophy case or other suitable location. Or, on the other hand, if it's also a great one, you may send it to us, as well. Not all schools return their mirrors to us, if you can believe that, and some of the mirrors are of unusable quality, so we'll always be needing extras at the last minute.

We're offering CD ROMs of our mirror polishing instructional video in the kits this year, instead of videotapes, because there are so many videotape standards in different parts of the world. It costs us extra time and money to produce the various types, and this is, after all, a volunteer project on a very limited budget. However, we recognize that not everyone can handle CD ROMs yet, so we're giving you your choice. Please indicate in the comments section of your application if you would prefer the CD ROM or the videotape, and which type of videotape you need (VHS, PAL, SECAM, etc.), if that's what you choose. PLEASE FILL IN YOUR APPLICATION COMPLETELY, or we may not be able to send your kit to you. Above all, please be sure to send us a valid email address, so we can acknowledge receipt of your request, together with a correct shipping address, so your kit will get to you. We expect to get the first of the 1000 Starshine 4/5 kits into the mail the first week of January 2002 and have them all shipped within a few weeks after that. We'll need to have the polished mirrors back by the end of February 2002.

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Last Updated: December 26, 2001