Here is a fascinating SOHO (SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory) 3400 kb QuickTime Movie that shows the behavior of the Sun in the Extreme Ultraviolet portion of the solar spectrum throughout the entire Starshine 1 mission. If you enjoy this movie, you might like to thank Mr. Steele Hill of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s SOHO Project Office, who prepared it especially for Starshine. We hope that another group in the SOHO Project Office will also be able to prepare for us a similar Michaelson Doppler Imager movie of the Sun later in the year. In the meantime, you can click here to look at daily solar images in various wavelength regions during its buildup to the peak of its current solar cycle.


The good news is that Bill Braun and his Starshine engineering team at the Naval Research Laboratory are making good progress on designing an improved Starshine 2 satellite. They’re incorporating within it a self- contained mechanism to make it spin at a constant rate of 5 degrees per second, so as to increase its reflected sunlight flash rate. The bad news is that there are no flight opportunities available to us on Space Shuttle missions to the International Space Station (ISS) in the near future. The ISS launches are the only ones that we can use, because they are the only flights that will put Starshine 2 in a sufficiently highly inclined orbit that it will be visible to all the students that polish the mirrors.

Here’s the basic scheduling problem: Until the crucially important and long-delayed Russian Svezda Service Module is launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome (hopefully in July of 2000) and joined to the Zarya and Unity modules that are already in orbit, a big logjam is building up in Space Shuttle launches. Then, after Svezda is in place, there will be lots of Shuttle launches, but they will be completely loaded with ISS construction components. NASA will therefore not be able to firmly manifest any “secondary” payloads like Starshine 2 on any of these missions for the next few years. However, unexpected openings may possibly occur from time to time for simple, small payloads like Starshine 2, so we may decide to go ahead and build Starshine 2 later this year, in the hope that an unexpected opening will occur in the 2001 Shuttle flight manifest.

In that case, we’ll send out mirror kits to schools in the fall of 2000. Otherwise, we’ll have to wait until the fall of 2001 or even 2002 to send out those kits, in anticipation of a launch in 2002 or 2003. We’re sorry to have to give you this discouraging news, but those are the facts of life at this time. We’ll report any progress we make to you on this web site.

Gil Moore
Project Starshine
3855 Sierra Vista Road
Monument, CO 80132
(719) 488- 0721 (Voice and Fax)

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