A Kickstarter campaign has begun to gather funding for the build and launch of the world's first socially connected nano-satellite. Going by the name of 'SkyCube,' users can view photos taken by the device in orbit and broadcast their tweets across the planet from it.
Founded by Astronomy programmer Tim DeBenedictis, he is hoping to raise $82,500 in order to cover the cost of this project. So far (as of writing this) he's just over one-eighth of the way at a little over $11,000.
The device is a 10x10x10cm "1U" CubeSat, which he plans to launch as a secondary payload on the upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket due for launch in March 2013. SkyCube will maintain a 300 mile orbit above the Earth, staying in-line with the equator and passing over most of the world's inhabited regions. Over the 90 days of its mission, low resolution photographs will be taken and shared with the backers of this project, along with projecting the same backers' tweeted messages for a paid duration of $1 every 10 seconds.
After this, an 8-gram CO2 cartridge will inflate a 10-foot (3-metre) diameter balloon, coated with highly reflective titanium dioxide powder to aid visibility and bring the satellite down (due to atmospheric drag) to the Earth, "ending the mission cleanly in a fiery "grand finale"" in their own words.
This has been one of many recent projects which plans to open "space science" to all in an accessible environment. We hope it gets funded.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.