KickSat co-creator, team launches new 'Pocket Spacecraft' project on Kickstarter

Jul 02, 2013 by Bob Yirka report

(Phys.org) —One of the team members who successfully launched KickSat on Kickstarter has started a new project called "Pocket Spacecraft" with the aim of launching thousands of CD shaped "space craft" into space and landing them back on Earth or on the moon.

KickSat was a project that was designed to allow anyone (for a small price) to put a tiny satellite aboard a rocket and have it launched and sent into an orbit around Earth. That Kickstarter project reached its funding goals and is now scheduled for launch sometime later this year. In this new project, the team wants to give anyone who wishes to do so, the opportunity to send a craft to space and back, or more optimistically, to the moon.

At the heart of the project is the Pocket Spacecraft—it's shape and size is similar to a DVD only smaller and much thinner. The idea is to pack thousands of them onto a craft that is itself put aboard a rocket. Upon launch, some of the Pocket Spacecraft will be released into space where they will fall back to Earth—others will continue on to the moon where they will be set free to crash-land onto its surface.

Each Pocket Spacecraft is up for sale—those who wish to purchase one can upload pictures or messages to it, or even add some programming. Each has a solar panel on it, electronic circuitry and communications gear that will allow for its owner to track its movements with their cell phone. Prices for the Pocket Spacecraft vary depending on whether the buyer wants their craft to fall back to Earth (Earth Scout-£99), or travel on to the moon (Lunar Scout-£199). Other options are also available to allow for groups to share a craft.

Many of the craft are expected to survive falling to Earth—those falling to moon's surface, on the other hand will perish. Those who sign on to the project and buy a craft will be able to watch as their Pocket Spacecraft is made, tested, packed and carried to a rocket for launch.

On its Kickstarter page, the team says they hope to collect the £290,000 goal needed for the project to proceed, and that if all goes as planned, would like to create a similar project for launching tiny craft to other planets in the solar system as well.

Explore further: The great world wide star count

More information: www.kickstarter.com/projects/1… t-on-a-mission-to-th
pocketspacecraft.com/about/press/

This story was corrected: 4am July 3, 2013.

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User comments : 8

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axemaster
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 02, 2013
So they're literally going to be littering trash all over the Moon? And probably dumping tons of untrackable, dangerous garbage into random Earth orbits? This sounds like a nightmare just waiting to happen.
ShotmanMaslo
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 02, 2013
So they're literally going to be littering trash all over the Moon? And probably dumping tons of untrackable, dangerous garbage into random Earth orbits? This sounds like a nightmare just waiting to happen.


I am sure mission plan will include the requirement to not polute Earth orbit.
gwrede
1 / 5 (5) Jul 02, 2013
All of the craft are expected to survive falling to Earth or the moon due to their small size and weight.
Earth I can accept. But the Moon, no way!

Imagine taking a DVD and smashing it into the street with all your force. Of course it will shatter into thousands of shards. Now, try to imagine circumstances where this DVD would smash into the Moon with any less speed! Since there's no atmosphere, merely dropping it from a few hundred feet will give it more speed than you can. Dropping it from a thousand miles or even all the way from the Lagrange point, will simply atomize it.

And they surely can't contain the energy to individually slow their descent. The needed energy and mechanics simply are too much to contain in a DVD format.

The KickStarter team never promised any retro rockets to slow down the descent before releasing the DVDs. So I call fraud on this one.
PocketSpacecraft_com
5 / 5 (3) Jul 02, 2013
The article is inaccurate and we have requested that numerous correction be made. We have posted the corrections we have requested as a comment but they are held in moderation. Please visit our website or KickStarter page for accurate details.
PocketSpacecraft_com
5 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2013
Hello, this is a message from Pocket Spacecraft. There are quite few errors in this article. The headline would be accurate if it said '

KickSat co-creator and team launches new 'Pocket Spacecraft' project on Kickstarter'.

The first paragraph would be accurate if it started:

'One of the team that successfully that successfully launched KickSat on Kickstarter ...'

The thin-film spacecraftt or 'Scouts' are smaller than a CD and thinner than a piece of paper. It is hoped that the Earth Scouts will survive reentry and descent to the ground. It is very very unlikely that any of the Lunar Scouts will survive impact with the lunar surface contrary to the article. It will also not be possible to steer Scouts interactively.
GSwift7
3 / 5 (2) Jul 02, 2013
The article is inaccurate and we have requested that numerous correction be made


lol, they beat me to it.

Here's a link to their web site:

http://pocketspacecraft.com/

Looks like the plan is for the moon only, but their web page is little more than a link to the kickstarter page, which makes the whole press release an advertising mechanism of sorts.
Osiris1
1 / 5 (4) Jul 02, 2013
How would you like being a cosmonaut in orbit when one of these CD's probably containing porn or some other worthless tripe but weighing in the tens of grams, hits you at about say 13 miles/second. Such would slice into your capsule/craft/fuel tank and oxidiser tank causing instant decompression from an irreparable rip in your spacecraft which could open like a deadly flower....or a huge explosion of your fuel/oxidiser tanks. Since our space program is a slave to the petrol industry, this is a likely scenario.
Urgelt
5 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2013
I noticed the errors in the article, as well. I'm gratified to see that the project membership is monitoring, and willing to post comments here.

I'm not entirely comfortable with the notion of littering debris across the surface of the moon. But I admit, it's an aesthetic reaction rather than any more substantial objection.