Mad scientist + Picosatellite Kit + Music = Project Calliope
It's early 2015, where to start? I've spoken at World MakerFaire, at the American Astronomical Society, next up is at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Primarily I am mentoring bright undergraduates in their own satellite missions-- and some of our work may be featured in an upcoming National Geographic Series. I've got 4 books out (see below). My university team just was awarded a free NASA launch slot as part of the CubeSat Launch Initiative. And in all this, the question remains-- when will Calliope fly?
Interorbital is still moving towards launch, and have even started doing some ISS deployments of their TubeSats. I'm not in a hurry-- in fact, I'm enjoying the time to make a more robust Arduino-based Calliope 2nd edition. I feel I am a much better satellite builder than when I started this project back in 2009. I put in my '300 hours' to be competent with Calliope v1, and now in teaching and mentoring students, I've put in my 2000 hours to become more expert. There are still huge areas I do not know, but the cool thing about nanosatellites is you don't need to know everything to complete a solid build.
The final book, book 4, "DIY Comm & Control" is due out in April 2015. Books 3-- "DIY Instruments for Amateur Space"-- has been out for a bit. Book 2 (Surviving Orbit (the DIY Way) is available and is about Testing the Limits Your Satellite Can and Must Match, only $2.50 (ebook) or $5 (print). Of course book 1, DIY Satellite Platforms, is still in print.
Project Calliope is a home-built satellite, launching in an eternal 'next year' to convert the ionosphere (where auroras occur) into sound so we can hear on Earth just how active space is. The data will be sent down as MIDI data via amateur ham radio for anyone to hear, and we'll make it available to musicians as royalty-free MIDI tracks to use, reuse and remix into cool music. I like the idea of flying something in space whose purpose is to make music until it dies-- music from science.
We're in a new space age-- be part of it.
The Calliope dream has come true even before I personally launch. People inspired by my efforts and other like-minded folks whose early worked paralleled mine are doing tremendous advances. Picosats are becoming a commodity, where the fundamental question is no longer "can you build one" but the much higher level question of "what will yours do?" So that's my question to you-- what will your satellite do?
In addition to my 4 books, you can read my previous articles at my blog on early Calliope supporter 'Science 2.0's 'Satellite Diaries'. I have a much neglected twitter @skyday, so direct email is best.
Updated news for 2015.
Added 22 more columns to the 'Make' section (28 April 2011)
*New* Gallery section added (11 April 2011)