Life After OTC

Robert Brand Part 3

Gene Cernan and Robert Brand

Life takes some pretty interesting turns and my headlong rush into the space sector started 3 years ago as mentioned in Part 1 and Part 2. Pat Barthelow, a HAM radio operator from the US, asked the OTVA to organise a Moon Bounce for the 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11 back in June 2009. After the next 12 months my knowledge of space had grown considerably as I was posting stories on my Echoes of Apollo Website.

The next 12 months saw me start to learn about the real guts of orbital dynamics and the physics of space and just about everything by default. The last 12 months has seen me pushing strongly into the space sector tot he point that I was even asked to talk at Spacefest IV a month ago. I was actually hobnobbing it with the space elite. You will find me on the program here nestled between Apollo moon walkers, planetary biologists and mission planners.

Spacefest IV Speakers list – click here

The photo above is Apollo Astronaut Gene Cernan and me sharing a joke after the banquet. Well that was not the end of the thing. The talk which featured the OTVA, OTC and some historic space events covered by OTC, went over really well. It just happened that an important person was in the audience and when they heard about my current experiments in the upper atmosphere with high altitude weather balloons, they approached me after the talk to see if I had answers for a stalled mission to Mars. It seems that the academic people that they had asked had no answers. I’m sure someone would , but the submission needed to be in within a week and the people at Spacefest were the last opportunity to do make this work. You could say I was there last resort!

Here is a short video of the talk. You will note some of the Apollo 11 images and also note that I was talking about the Giotto probe when the graphics say that it was about asteroids. I did not make this video.

None the less I am now waiting to see if they get a green light to be involved in a  mainstream space mission!

In the last month I have also been asked to be involved in Ardusat. It is still in the funding stage, but it has made its minimum funding level and so it will fly next year – mid 2013! It may be bigger – 2 cubesats, but it will fly! I am responsible for the design of the up and down links. It is all looking good, but a real challenge for a decent global network!

Ardusat Project:

Ardusat embodies all that we hold dear to the cause of making space “everyday” for everyday people. We have been brought on-board this mission to bring our knowledge to the team and to espArdusatecially work with the amateur radio community to create the up and down links needed for this enterprise. Jason will also liaise with schools around the world.

These pages are published with permission of the Ardusat team and are copyright 2012

Bigger is Better!

UPDATE: New target is a double sized ArduSat with better camera and sensors for $ 75,000 or even two singles sized Ardusats for Satellite-to-Satellite communication experiments. So join us now!

Ardusat Funding

At the time of printing we are in the funding stage and need help. Kickstarter has way more information about Ardusat. This is a teaser page. Click on the Kickstarter images to read more and help with a few dollars (or more)

By supporting the project you’re not only reserving your place at a discounted price at the front of the line to use it once it’s in space, but you’re helping us develop a platform to make space access affordable and achievable for anyone.

What you can do with ArduSat

Kickstarter Details

To get your creative cogs turning, here are just a few of the ideas the ArduSat developers are cooking up. For even more application challenges and some ideas for high school and university student projects, check out our Ideas page and get commenting!

SCIENCE: Meteor Hunter – Small meteors that strike the atmosphere every day created trails of ionized gas in the atmosphere in the upper atmosphere. Write an experiment to try and detect meteor impacts, by listening for radio stations beyond the horizon, reflected by the meteor trails!

ENGINEERING: Your Eye in the Sky – Try writing an app that would synchronize the output of a head mounted-gyro to the steering system on the satellite. If you’re feeling really ambitious, try downlinking the attitude vector in real-time to watch the satellite follow your head – you could even tie-in your head-steering to our program that takes pictures! (Talk to Joel if you’re interested in this experiment!)

ENGINEERING: Point-and-shoot – The following settings can be set on the camera: “exposure, gamma, gain, white balance, color matrix, windowing”. Try designing an algorithm that fine-tunes the settings to take even better pictures or more artistic pictures!

ENTERTAINMENT: Geiger Counter Bingo – Write an app that transmits a message with a random number and letter every time a particle hits the satellite with enough energy. Have a ‘bingo from space’ game between HAM radio amateurs.

ENTERTAINMENT: Photography Competition – See who among your friends can snap the coolest/most interesting picture from space. The eye of a hurricane, sunrise over the Indian ocean, even aurora from space – see what marvels you can capture!

Take Pictures from Space

The satellite is not just for scientific purposes; ambitious photographers and artists will be able to steer the satellite cameras take pictures on-demand of the Earth, the Moon, or the stars. Especially from the Artist community we expect to see some spectacular private space pictures so we all can marvel at the beauty of Earth from above.

How it Works

Click on the image below for more details and ways to make this all possible:

There are more space projects on the way and I encourage anyone with the skills or the desire to get involved to contact me. It is very rewarding and great to be mentoring students from local schools. There has been far more that this happening, but you can catch some of my antics over at:

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