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 Update for February 20, 2002

We're so sorry, but new postal regulations that have been instituted on international mail since the September 11 tragedy have considerably slowed our Starshine 4 mirror polishing kit shipments to international destinations. Instead of being able to fill out a simple customs form, our small team of volunteers is now having to fill out by hand a four-part document for each kit. International kits are therefore just now starting to be shipped. They're going by air, however, so those of you who applied for kits before today's date should have them by early March. We'll extend the deadline for returning your mirrors, as necessary, to compensate for the delay. Once again, we're sorry for the inconvenience.

Starshine 4 Update for February 14, 2002

Our friends at QSI Corporation in Salt Lake City, Utah, have shipped over 800 mirror polishing kits to schools all over the world for the Starshine 4 mission.. For a newspaper story about their activities, click here. They are shipping additional kits each week, so if you have already submitted a School Participation Request form, you should receive your kit by the end of February. Each kit contains three mirrors. Please polish them all and send us your best two. Not all schools return their mirrors to us, if you can believe that, and some of the polished mirrors are of unusable quality, so we'll always be needing extras at the last minute. You may keep your third best for your school trophy case or other suitable location.

The deadline for returning your polished mirrors to us is March 31, 2002, but please send them back earlier if you can, just like Mariah Rich of Helena, Montana, and Scott Roach of Mancos, Colorado, did on February 14. Thanks for your promptness and Happy Valentine's Day to you, Mariah and Scott. By the way, through an omission on the project director's part, self-addressed return envelopes for the student name sheets were not included in the kit. So, you'll have to supply and address your own envelopes to Mr. R. Gilbert Moore, Starshine 4/5, 3855 Sierra Vista Road, Monument, CO, 80132-8216. We're sorry for this inconvenience.

We have received only 825 applications for mirror kits, to date, out of the 1000 kits available. So, there is still time for you to get an application sent in, if you haven't already done so. You can find the kit application form by scrolling down this home page to the heading, School Participation Request. PLEASE FILL IN ALL THE LINES IN YOUR FORM COMPLETELY, MAKING SURE TO SEND US A VALID EMAIL ADDRESS, so we can acknowledge receipt of your request, and A COMPLETE AND CORRECT STREET ADDRESS AND ZIP CODE, so your kit will get to you without delay. Since the kits are being shipped by United Parcel Service, we need your STREET ADDRESS, not your post office box number.

NASA has firmly manifested our Starshine 4 satellite on the STS-114 Shuttle mission to the International Space Station in January of 2003. Our mirror placement expert, Doug Winfield of Seneca, South Carolina, has improved the hole drilling pattern on this satellite, so we'll be able to mount 1000 mirrors on its external shell. Skip Dopp of the Bridgerland Applied Technology College in Logan, Utah, has ordered the spun aluminum structural hemispheres for this satellite, and his team will drill the mirror mounting holes in them during March. The team is already machining some of the spacecraft's internal structural components.

We're going to release a self-inflating, metallized Mylar balloon from inside the Starshine 4 satellite, shortly after it is deployed from Space Shuttle Atlantis in January 2003 . This will be a "proof of concept" test, in advance of a more elaborate, multiple-balloon experiment that we're planning to include in our Starshine 5 satellite on a future Space Shuttle mission. We'll soon be posting details here of this improved approach to measuring the effects of solar storms on the earth's upper atmosphere.

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Last Updated: February 14, 2002