It has become clear that we are not going to receive 1000 applications for mirror polishing kits in time for the Starshine 3 mission. We will therefore not be able to completely cover the Starshine 3 satellite with student-polished mirrors, the way things are going. Therefore, if your school has received a kit and is now polishing the two mirrors it contains, please send BOTH of them back to us. Don't keep the extra one for display purposes. Also, if you're having a good time doing these two mirrors and would like to do more, please send in another application. Be sure to tell us in the Comments section of the form that this is a request for a certain number of additional mirrors. We'll send you just the mirrors and the consumable materials required to polish them. We won't send you an extra videotape, glass backing plate, set of printed instructions or optical inspection flat, since you already have them.
There are still some openings for new schools to sign up, too, but you'd better hurry! Scroll down to the School Participation Request form on this web site, fill it out completely and send it in. BE SURE TO LIST YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS. If you don't, we won't be able to acknowledge your application, and we won't send you a kit. This is an internet-based project and cannot work without your address.
Our polishing kit assembly and shipping folks at the Aerospace Development Center have now completely wiped out their shipping backlog. They should be able to put a kit in the mail to you within one day after we receive your application. Then it's up to you. You must get started polishing your mirror immediately after you receive your kit. The deadline for getting your polished mirrors back to us is still March 31, 2001. Please do not fill out an application unless you can meet that schedule.
Starshine 3 will be nearly a meter in diameter (37 inches) and will weigh 88 kilograms (193 pounds). It will carry 1000 student-polished mirrors, 31 laser retroreflectors, and an array of solar cells and thin film batteries from the NASA Glenn Research Center. The solar cells will power an amateur radio transmitter being built by the South Dakota School of Mines and by Cynetics Corporation. This transmitter will send out a beacon signal every thirty seconds to amateur radio operators all over the world at 145.825 Megahertz. The beacon signal will contain information that will allow the amateur radio operators to measure the spin rate of the satellite and the performance of the solar cells and batteries. The Naval Research Laboratory is building the satellite, with assistance from the Calhoun Community College in Decatur, Alabama, the Bridgerland Applied Technology Center in Logan, Utah, and the C. F. P. Paul Rousseau School in Drummondville, Canada. Some of the student-polished mirrors for this mission will be protectively coated with silicon dioxide by the Optics Laboratory at Hill Air Force Base, and some will be coated by the Space Optics Manufacturing Technology Center of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.
Starshine 3 will fly on NASA's 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. The satellite will be deployed from the launch vehicle 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 other Starshine satellites of this larger configuration from Space Shuttle orbiters.
Engineers at the Naval Research Laboratory are making good progress with installing 845 student-polished mirrors, 31 laser retrorefectors and 2 micro-jet thrusters on the surface of the Starshine 2 satellite shell in a clean room at their satellite assembly facility. They are also completing the construction and assembly of a pressure vessel and valve that will work with the micro-jet thrusters to spin Starshine 2 at the start of its orbital mission in October of 2001. Schools in the vicinity of the Naval Research Laboratory in southeast Washington, DC can make arrangements to visit the laboratory and watch their mirrors being vibration tested on the Starshine 2 satellite, sometime in April. Teachers wishing to schedule a visit should send an email message to Mr. Bill Braun, Starshine Spacecraft Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 202-767-0695.