July 31, 2012

Popular Mechanics Digests Asteroids

First of all, thanks to Popular Mechanics for putting us on the cover this month. Super cool!

And thanks to all of you who gave us feedback on our initial list of Kickstarter pledge levels aimed at building a public-use space telescope!

We’ve had a number of requests for photos. So in this Blog, it’s our pleasure to share some recent images of the Arkyd-100 Space Telescope.

The image above shows one of our engineers working on a configuration prototype. The Spacecraft itself has been designed to be both compact and lightweight so it can easily find a launch as secondary payload, or to allow us to launch a flotilla of Arkyd-100’s in a swarm.

This Arkyd 102 is configured to support a large telescopic optic (20cm shown, we’re considering larger options), compared to a relatively small overall volume of 40 x 40 x 60cm. The 25 kg space telescope can image a 60 square km area at nearly 1 meter per pixel resolution from a nominal 500 km orbit. If you’re using it for an astronomical application, the spacecraft offers sub-arcsecond imaging.

The image above is a simulation of what the Arkyd-100 would look like in orbit as viewed from its context camera, as well as its hi-res field of view from LEO.

For Earth imaging applications, the Arkyd-100 Space Telescope provides two scales of view of our beautiful planet. A wide-angle context camera mounted on a deployable boom provides a bird’s-eye view of the spacecraft as it obtains high resolution images of the Earth. The San Francisco Bay area is shown in this illustration, with the spacecraft in the foreground and California in the background. The high resolution view shows a sample view of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and the image inset at lower right shows a sample at the highest resolution view (Exploratorium pictured).

In our next update we’ll reveal a surprise on what’s inside our telescope…

This week our question for you is simple… If you could point the telescope anywhere you want, what would you most want to photograph using the Arkyd-100? We really would love to know? If it’s a location on Earth, specifically what locations and why? Your home? The Olympics? A nebula? The Moon?

Please use the blog below to share your ideas – we really want to know!