Update: "SkyCube" has a Kentucky connection. AstroDev's Kevin Brown works at Morehead State University, and Tyler Rose is a recent grad. They are contracted to build the satellite and its radio, according to the Kickstarter page for SkyCube.
Following a trail blazed by Kicksat and Ardusat, SkyCube is the latest entrant in the do-it-yourself, crowd-funded space race. Computerworld:
The team is led by Tim DeBenedictis, a self-described 'space nut' and the man behind the popular Sky Safari smartphone app that provides a guide to the stars.
SkyCube is expected to be in orbit for about three months. During that time, it will take pictures of Earth with three VGA cameras and deliver 120-character messages to smartphones running a SkyCube app. The messages will be collected on Earth and transmitted to the satellite about once a day, where they will be stored in memory and broadcast every 10 seconds. In addition to the app, anyone with a fairly modest amateur radio-type receiver might also be able to pick up the broadcasts directly.
Of special interest, DeBenedictis plans to include a carbon dioxide cartridge to inflate a balloon roughly 12 feet across, which he hopes will make the tiny spacecraft, itself only four inches on side, visible to the naked eye. He believes his backers should be able to pick out their spacecraft in orbit using software such as Heavens Above.
Current plans call for a 2013 launch on a Falcon 9, and a roughly three-month orbit.
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