About the Launch
On Thursday, January 9th, 2014 an Antares rocket carrying Orbital’s Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft with the GO-Science SkyCube Satellite successfully lifted-off from Pad-0A at Wallops Island, Virginia boosting Cygnus to an initial target orbit. Cygnus will use its on-board thrusters to raise its orbit to rendezvous and berth with the International Space Station (ISS) on the morning of January 12th, 2014. After removing the satellite from the Cygnus spacecraft the astronauts will then place the SkyCube Satellite into its own orbit on a date to be scheduled by NASA between now and June.
After the mission is complete, the satellite will inflate a 10-foot (3-meter) diameter balloon. SkyCube’s balloon will make the satellite as bright as the Hubble Space Telescope or a first-magnitude star. You’ll be able to see it with your own eyes, sailing across the sky. However, SkyCube’s balloon isn’t just for visibility. Within three weeks, it will bring SkyCube down from orbit due to atmospheric drag, ending the mission cleanly in a fiery “grand finale” that avoids any buildup of space debris.
GO-Science is a sponsor of the mission and will be acting as an educational arm by providing educational resources tied with the mission to students and teachers nationwide. These resources include classroom lesson plans and interactive activities that will be made available at www.go-science.org.
GO-Science has reserved access time to the satellite to take pictures from space and send messages from the satellite. Individuals and organization can reserve a limited number of photos and messages by making a tax-deductible donation to GO-Science online at shop.go-science.org. This is a great opportunity to be part of history while also helping to support educational activities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.