Ten Centimeters Cubed

Cubesats: How An Accidental Standard Launched A New Space Age

Bob Twiggs was frustrated. His Stanford University graduate students started satellite-building projects but never finished them.

Searching for a way to simplify the projects—and cut out build time—Twiggs thought, “What if we made [the satellite] a cube and put solar cells on all sides so no matter which way it rotated, it was going to get charged?” With some spare solar cells from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he went down to a local shop and found a 4 X 4 X 4-in. transparent box.

It was also around that time—in 1999—that an infamous error caught Twiggs’ attention. That year a mix-up between Imperial and metric units by a Lockheed Martin engineering team caused NASA’s Mars Climate Orbiter to burn up in the red planet’s atmosphere, ending the mission early.

“I said, ‘It’s about time students learn metric,’” he says. “I wonder what this [4-in. box] is in metric? Well, it turned out to be just almost 10 cm.”

Cubesats: How An Accidental Standard Launched A New Space Age

Discovery Dish Redux

I was fairly certain this crowd funded project would be a slam dunk. Now, many days into the campaign, it seems to be struggling to gain the traction required to make it a success. There are still 25 days remaining in the effort, but with only 33% funding at this point, I have concerns about its viability. And that’s too bad because I’d really like for this to succeed. If you haven’t taken a look, please do and if you have interest you should get onboard before it’s too late.

Assorted Candies

The SKCC Weekend Sprint (WES) was this weekend. I joined the fun at the opening bell and quickly made 13 contacts. I started to think a 50 or even a 100 Q sprint might be in the offing, but I went for a second cup of coffee at that point and never came back. It was what it was and I need to remember to submit my paltry results.

I did manage to work the Botswana operation (A25R) on 12, 15, and 17 meters using FT8 in F/H mode this weekend. I was hearing them well on 20 meters too, but they weren’t having anything to do with my RF there. That’s an ATNO for me so happy dance all around as those are becoming tougher to find, work, and confirm.

Having been an enthusiastic user of Twitter, back in the before time, and who abandoned it earlier this year, I admit to some curiosity about the new-ish Bluesky social service. So when an invitation code arrived this weekend I signed up and took it for a spin. It looks exactly like the old Twitter. That may be one of its charms? I haven’t found many hams there just yet, and may never. There are so many social media options these days that the herd has been split into many smaller chunks. If you have an account look for me @ke9v.bsky.social

+ Will Saturn’s rings really ‘disappear’ by 2025? An astronomer explains

Lara Parker Dies: ‘Dark Shadows’ Scene-Stealing, Spell-Casting Witch Angelique Was 84 – RIP. Notable passing for me since we rewatched the entire original Dark Shadows series a year ago. I had watched much of it during its original run when I was still a kid in grade school, rushing home daily to catch up with the assorted creepiness. Watching it again as an adult I admit it was definitely campy, but an original masterpiece in its own way. ‘Angelique’ was the witch who turned Barnabas Collins into a vampire during an alternate timeline so her place in DS history is forever secure.

I have concluded my hunt for POTA. Whether forever or just for the season has yet to be determined.

At 1849 UTC Nov 11 SpaceX launched the Transporter-9 mission carrying over 100 satellites from many different companies and countries to orbit. Details at planet4589.org/latest.html via Jonathan McDowell

Imagine a high school student whose passion for science is ignited during a summer program and goes on to become a groundbreaking scientist. That’s the kind of transformational journey that the Summer Science Program (SSP) has been fostering for decades. To support this important work, 1969 program alumnus and a founder of Qualcomm — Franklin Antonio — donated $200 million in his will, Antonio passed away in May of 2022.

$200+ Million Bequest Will Support Science Research For High Schoolers

It Came From Outer Space

Streaming television services have grown like weeds in these days of fast Internet connections and everyone wants in on the action. The problem is these become ankle-biters — small fees that seem innocuous until you have a half dozen or more of them at which point they become expensive and annoying. Netflix, Hulu, Paramount, Max, Disney, the list goes on and on.

Now another new streaming service is on the way. But this one will be free, funded completely by Uncle Sam:

After unveiling a brand-new website earlier this year, NASA is now primed to release NASA+, its new no-cost, ad-free platform for iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV and Fire TV starting on Wednesday (Nov. 8).

NASA+ will be the desirable destination for inquisitive fans hoping to catch up with all the latest informative, entertainment offerings across the full space science spectrum, presenting family friendly news and feature stories, Emmy Award-winning live event coverage, special panels, exclusive interviews and original video series.

“NASA’s new streaming platform and app are where the world can join us as we explore the unknown,” said Marc Etkind, associate administrator, Office of Communications, NASA Headquarters. “NASA is the catalyst behind some of humanity’s greatest stories; and now, with our new digital presence, everyone will have access to these stories 24/7.”

Discovery Dish

I received an email this morning notifying me that the Discovery Dish crowd funded campaign has gone live.

Discovery Dish is a 65-cm aluminum satellite dish with an active filtered feed. It is designed for receiving real-time weather data from GOES HRIT, GK-2A LRIT, FengYun LRIT, NOAA HRPT, Metop HRPT, Meteor M2 HRPT, and other weather satellites that operate around 1.69 GHz. The dish is designed to weigh under one kilogram and splits into three petals, making it easier to ship worldwide. 


I have been interested in this new product offering (and the various feeds for it) because of an interest I have in receiving weather images and data directly from satellites. The dish has a clean look that shouldn’t offend any nosy neighbors and I look forward to having it on the roof one day if the campaign is successful.