I enjoyed presenting on Project Calliope two weeks ago, at the 215th AAS meeting.  I have a partial podcast of my talk in preparation, but in the meantime, here are the visual slides from my presentation (and also up as a PDF at ProjectCalliope.com.  The most important theme I covered was the shift from a tech mindset (build a crack engineering team) to a social mindset (gather a circle of interested people able to talk this up).   Though the value of the talk was in the dialog, not the slides, this does provide a useful basic primer on the how and why of launching a personal picosatellite.

Project Calliope
Science&Social Media

Alex Antunes, Ph.D.

Abstract: We present the 'Project Calliope' picosatellite to explore how to use social media to initiate, fund, and engage in scientific research. 'Project Calliope' is a sonified ionospheric detector being launched in 2010 on the "TubeSat" platform. It has no federal or academic contribution, and relies on 'citizen scientists' and such 'citizen journalist' channels as ScientificBlogging.com for its technical and infrastructure support. The fundamental question of whether good science can come from small packages has a mixed answer. We put forth the 'Science2.0' concept of science as play, provide a method for engaging individuals as contributors, discuss the pros and cons of operating a research project with full transparency, and present preliminary K12 outreach results.

Project Calliope is a science/music satellite

        Input: Earth's Ionosphere orbital environment
        Output: MIDI music signals


  • InterOrbital.com $8K 'TubeSat' in a 3-16 week polar orbit

  • 'ICube-X' Sensors from InfusionSystems.com

    • 2 ionospheric magnetic sensors

    • 1 particle counter

    • 4 light sensors to track spin

    • 1 temperature sensor

  • Downlink via shared HAM, estimate 90-180 minutes/day.

  • Redistribution via web and P2P


  • Dawn of private space age

  • 'Small science' by individuals

  • Science&Music collaborating

  • Open notebook science

  • Sharing and remixing

  • It's what I do.

Fueled by Social Media

Original plan: assemble a crack engineering&ops team, then promote it myself.
Reality: I can build it solo, using COTS! But promotion requires many hands.

Communities Engaged

  • Public: via ScientificBlogging.com

  • Tech: Infusion Systems' tech team, InterOrbital Systems CEO

  • Music: P2PNet, Audio4Cast, Echolot

  • Edu: Project ASTRO, regional K12, J. Wallin

  • Academia: <crickets>

  • The Future is 2010/2011

    There is a love and need for space, not just among techies but among musicians, artists, students, anyone who looks up. @skyday #aas215

    This bear will fly to space!


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