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At MakerFaire NYC

Hi all,I'll be at the NYC MakerFaire this weekend (Sept 21-22), in case anyone wishes to join up...

Concepts For A CubeSat LARP

I am a firm believer that simulations improve reality.  If you want to launch a CubeSat, you...

Putting a TARDIS in Space?

I am used to odd looks when I say I'm flying a satellite to convert the ionosphere to music. ...

Who Can Launch a CubeSat?

In the half year since I wrote last September, the CubeSat field has greatly moved forward. ...

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Project CalliopeRSS Feed of this column.

Alex "Sandy" Antunes is the mastermind behind 'Project Calliope', a pico-satellite funded by Science 2.0 and being launched in 2011 by a mad scientist who is a space & music enthusiast. This... Read More »

In the midst of ordering PCB boards for my satellite, I read about a neat UK "CubeSail" satellite.  It's a sweeper for space, to clear out all the space junk that we're cluttering low earth orbit with.  It's basically a solar sail in reverse-- instead of propulsion, you use it to capture junk.

Now, this isn't needed for Project Calliope.  We will responsibly biodegrade in the most natural way possible-- flaming burn-up as our orbit decays into the atmosphere.  So we're tidy (and firey!)
We defied expectations in last week's Pepsi Throwback Challenge. We found the unusual result that our bodies, against our wills, preferred high fructose corn syrup to ordinary sugar.  Our comparison of Pepsi[TM] soda products, particularly their corn syrup 'regular formulation' against their all-sugar 'Throwback', defied our expectations.
Labor Pains

Labor Pains

Mar 30 2010 | comment(s)

How much is my labor on the Project Calliope satellite costing me? Accounts range from 'zero' to $14,400, to $65,000. That's the difference between what I'm being paid to do it for, what I'm losing, and what I could potentially be making for the time I'm putting into this project.

The valuation of volunteer labor is currently $20 per hour. Opportunity cost is defined as the 'cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a different action'. So if it takes me 4 hours to read a novel, is that an $80 book?

"To Contribute to Mankind"

Dr. Beatrice Hill Tinsley invented the galaxies that I crash. Before I was born, she laid the foundations for the work that changed our view of galaxies as mere bundles of stars into the current cosmological view of protogalaxies that formed, that evolve, that continuously have stars dying and stars being born. She codified how galaxies evolve.
I'm launching a satellite to make music from the ionosphere. But what would that look like, in a dramatic sense? In an evocative sense?

In a perfect world, I could just ask a couple of children to draw me their impression of what 'a satellite making music out of the ionosphere' would look like. Since we live in a perfect world, I did that.

The absolute coolest thing to come out of this was a new Calliope tagphrase: 'Around the world in 48 beats'.
 'Around the world in 48 Beats', by Ivy
A reader was aghast-- outraged, I say-- at my suggestion that this precious music satellite, Project Calliope, might launch a few months late.

Now, the rocket people at InterOrbital Systems are rock-solid and haven't had any reason to announce a delay. Their testing is on track. Certainly (as this blog shows) my satellite construction in proceeding in a timely fashion. So why do I think we won't launch until 2011?

The answer is just about everything launches late. Late is the new early. The launch industry is predicated on being absolutely perfect with engineering details, and wildly inaccurate about when you actually launch.