A PERSONAL SATELLITE
Wednesday July 12th 2006, 2:31 pm
Japan-based Astro Research Corporation is designing and launching custom 10-inch, solar-powered satellites. The cost: $860,000, which covers the cost of the satellite, launch and operational services, as well as a satellite launch field trip and a satellite location notification service, which favorably compares to current satellite development costs of between $10 and $20 million. The MySat satellites can be used for a number of purposes, including earth observation, component testing, disaster monitoring, remotesensoring, and even advertising. Once in low earth orbit, the MySat-1 will circle the earth about 14 times per day. Owners can also tune in to their satellite’s radio signal on a Web site to monitor its location and listen to it as it passes overhead. [via discovery news]
THE SPACE ELEVATOR
Wednesday January 11th 2006, 10:46 pm
Several university, private industry, and government groups are developing an innovative approach to accessing the inner solar system via robotic elevator cars that move up and down a ribbon, which is anchored to earth, and a small man-made counterweight in space. The elevator would potentially carry satellites, solar power systems, exploration probes, factories, and eventually people into space.
In October, there was a space elevator competition at Moffit Field in Silicon Valley. The competition was run by the Spaceward Foundation, a non-profit group, and had a $50,000 prize money furnished by NASA. No group won, and the preliminary elevator technology is believed to be at least two years off.
According to Siliconbeat, there have also been secretive demonstrations of a Space Elevator project by the Foresight Nanotech Institute. The project apparently also involves Liftport Group, which has received a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use airspace to conduct preliminary tests.
Liftport has a launch date set: April 12, 2018.
[Thanks, Liftport Group, Siliconbeat, San Jose Mercury News]
[Update: The March 1, 2006 issue of Business2.0 Magazine has an excellent and detailed description of the space elevator concept.]