NASA has given us an early Christmas present by announcing that our Starshine 3 satellite will fly on their Kodiak Star mission out of the Kodiak Launch Complex, Alaska, on August 31, 2001. The unmanned launch vehicle for this mission will be a Lockheed Martin Athena I. It will place Starshine 3 in a 500 kilometer (300 mile) circular orbit, inclined to the equator by 67 degrees. This means that the satellite will be visible at twilight to all the children in the world as it orbits the earth for several years.

Starshine will be nearly a meter in diameter (37 inches) and will weigh 91 kilograms (200 pounds). It will carry 1000 student-polished mirrors, an experimental array of solar cells and thin film batteries from the NASA Glenn Research Center, and a nano-g drag accelerometer from the Southwest Research Center. It will employ a downlink radio transmitter from Cynetics Corporation to send its scientific measurements to receiving stations at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the U.S. Naval Academy, Santa Clara University, and other amateur radio receiving stations around the earth. The Naval Research Laboratory is building the satellite, with assistance from Calhoun Community College. The satellite will be deployed by a Lightband system being built by Planetary Systems Corporation. After certifying the deployment system on the Kodiak Star mission, we later plan to use it to deploy Starshine satellites of this larger configuration from Space Shuttle orbiters.

Weíre now accepting applications for mirror polishing kits, which we hope the Aerospace Development Center at Jacksonville State University will be able to start shipping out in late January 2001. These kits will contain mirror blanks machined by the Bridgerland Applied Technology Center from aluminum stock supplied by Thiokol, an Alcoa Company, and polishing materials being purchased by the Alaska Space Grant Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. We donít have the mirror return date worked out yet, but this will be a very short turn-around because of the highly compressed satellite construction schedule that NASA has given us. To fill out an application, scroll down this page until you find the heading School Participation Request, click on it, fill it in completely and send it in. Please do not fill out an application unless you are willing to work hard to meet our schedule. BE SURE TO LIST YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS. Applications without email addresses will not be accepted. This is an internet-based project and cannot work without your address.


Polished Starshine 2 mirrors are continuing to arrive from schools all over the world. Even though the deadline of November 30, 2000, has passed, please donít give up yet, if you havenít sent in your polished mirror. We realize that many of you didnít receive your kits until just before the deadline, and some of you had problems because we had a mirror machining problem, so please go ahead and finish your mirrors and send them in. We need your mirrors! Weíre a long way from having enough of them to cover the satellite. Weíll fill in the gaps on the satellite with mirrors that have been polished professionally at Hill Air Force Base, if we have to, but we would really rather not do that.

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