NASA will launch a strange satellite that can see flash signals from the ground

The United States Space Agency (NASA) announced that it will support a square satellite project, and the general public on the ground can send commands to the satellite via radio. After the satellite receives the signal, it responds in the sky with a flash of light visible from the ground.

This is one of the 14 satellite research projects recently supported by NASA. It is an educational project and is planned to be launched into low-altitude orbit of the Earth between 2022 and 2025.

This satellite called LightCube is indeed worthy of its name, only the size of a toaster. Its function is to interact with the general public on the ground through amateur radio bands and visible flashes.

The chief designer of the project, Jaime Sanchez de la Vega, graduated from Arizona State University in 2019 with a double degree in aerospace and electrical engineering. Now he works for the start-up company Vega Space Systems. The company is now cooperating with Arizona State University on this project.

Della Vega said: “With an app, the public can track the position of the Light Cube and use ham radio to transmit a signal to the satellite. After the satellite receives the signal, people on the ground will see the satellite in the night sky. flash.”

Ham Radio is also called amateur radio, which is a radio service that uses radio frequency spectrum for amateur radio enthusiasts to communicate with each other, experiment or personal entertainment. Satellite flashes use xenon flashes, the same technology used by cameras and some medical imaging equipment.

In recent years, the astronomy research community has been opposed to projects such as the Starlink group array satellites, which are continuously increasing the artificial light pollution in the night sky. Under such circumstances, NASA also approved the Light Cube satellite project, which is a bit unexpected.

“Forbes” (Forbes) magazine contributor and American astrophysicist Ethan Siegel (Ethan Siegel) said that such on-demand flash projects will cause interference to astronomical observatories on the ground and in Earth orbit. When the short and rare natural flash from the universe and the flash from the satellite occur at the same time, the observatory will miss the flash signal from the universe. #

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