Starshine 3 Update - October 30, 2001 (10:32UT)

Photo by Lockheed Martin Astronautics

Starshine 3 Visual Sighting Reports, News stories and Video

The Kodiak Star mission lifted off into beautiful blue skies, after a flawless countdown, from the Kodiak Launch Complex, Alaska, at 6:40 P.M. Alaska Daylight Time September 29, 2001 (02:40 GMT on September 30, 2001).

According to Gil Moore, Project Director, "We have been deployed and we are operating! A new international educational satellite called Starshine 3 was released by NASA into the heavens tonight. Thousands of children in countries all over the world worked together to polish small aluminum mirrors that cover this satellite's surface. The entire Kodiak Star team would like to join with these children in dedicating this spacecraft to the memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks on the United States of America. Starshine 3 will be seen flickering across the stars at dawn and dusk as a lasting symbol of America's pride and its determination to work with all peace-loving nations in the pursuit of knowledge about the earth and its place in the universe."

Project Starshine in the news.
Kodiak Star Photo Index at Kennedy Space Center

Amateur radio operators click here for details of the Starshine 3 communication system and the way in which you can collect and relay satellite solar cell performance and spin rate data to us.

NRL image by photographers Michael A.Savell and Gayle R. Fullerton.

Here is an image of the assembled Starshine 3 satellite at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. Starshine lead mechanical engineer John Vasquez is inspecting the satellite prior to its flight acceptance vibration test. Visible in the photograph are some of the 1500 student mirrors, 31 laser retroreflectors and seven solar cell experiment clusters that are mounted on the satellite's surface. Also visible are the Lightband separation system that will deploy the satellite into orbit, as well as one of the two communication antennas that will broadcast satellite spin rate data throughout the satellite's expected three-year orbital lifetime.

Following vibration and thermal vacuum testing at NRL, the satellite was shipped to Kodiak, Alaska, and integrated with its Athena launch vehicle at the Kodiak Launch Complex on July 31. Here is a photo of Starshine 3 on the Athena payload adapter assembly, courtesy of NASA's Garrett Skrobot. The happy fellows in the clean room bunny suits are Gil Moore of Starshine Headquarters, John Vasquez of the Naval Research Laboratory and Walter Holemans of Planetary Systems Corporation. Also participating in the spacecraft integration activities in Alaska were Dave Scheiman of
the Ohio Aerospace Institute, Dave Wilt of the NASA Glenn Research Center and Mike Batchelder of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
Kodiak STP NASA LMA Starshine 3 Logo Starshine 3 Logo
The Starshine 3 spacecraft is a hollow aluminum sphere, nearly a meter in diameter (37 inches), that weighs 90 kilograms (197 pounds). The solar cells mentioned above power a radio communication system built by Cynetics Corporation and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. The system's transmitter will send out a beacon signal every one to two minutes at a frequency of 145.825 Megahertz to amateur radio operators, or "hams," all over the world. The hams will relay the output of the solar cells to us, so we can determine how the spin rate of the satellite slows down during the mission. Eddy currents in the alumuminum shell, generated by the satellite's passage through the earth's magnetic field, will brake the satellite's spin at a rate that is hard to calculate, so we'll measure that spin rate throughout the mission. This information will be used in the design of a spin-up and re-spin system for the Starshine 4 and 5 satellites.

STARSHINE 4 AND 5 UPDATE - August 21, 2001

NASA will decide in October of this year whether or not it will be possible to launch our Starshine 4 and Starshine 5 satellites on the Space Shuttle STS-114 mission in early 2003. If a positive decision is reached, Project Starshine Headquarters in Monument, CO will start sending out mirror polishing kits to applying schools by the end of 2001. If a negative decision is reached, no mirror kits will be mailed this school year. Please do not apply for a kit until NASA has reached its decision and an announcement has been made on this web site.