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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Doctor Who thing: fans putting a mini TARDIS into orbit

tardisorbit

No, really. A one-foot-tall TARDIS — that is, a blue police box — will soon be heading into low Earth orbit, because the Kickstarter to fund it has reached almost double its goal.

What’s it all about?

The TARDIS is built. That’s right. We’ve completed the satellite. The satellite is constructed from really light weight aluminum (because weight is a huge issue) and it is a scaled-down version of the actual TARDIS. Our satellite is only about 1 foot tall – because again, weight is a major factor. However, the light on top functions (powered by solar cells in the windows.) And that means that when we put this thing in space, there will be a TARDIS with a blinking light orbiting the Earth. SWEET!

But then we thought, what if we put some other stuff inside? So, we did. There is a camera, a GoPro Hero 3, regularly recharged by the solar panels, which will take photos of the Earth from orbit. It’s not the Hubble or a spy telescope, but it should give us some pretty sweet pics. A magnetic, passive attitude control system is in place which will keep the TARDIS’s camera pointing toward the planet. We initially installed a hard drive, but there are issues with a hard drive operating in zero-gravity, so we’ve switched to SSDs for memory. The SSDs are ready to be uploaded with information. We felt really dumb about the hard drive thing until we learned that NASA made the same mistake. They put standard hard drives in every computer on the International Space Station, then realized none of them would work in space.

Now all that is left to do is take the TARDIS to the aerospace company that will be carrying it into space. We will pay them for the launch, based on the size and weight of our satellite, and that’s it. One TARDIS in orbit. But, we have to pay them. That’s why we’re here on Kickstarter. Putting satellites in orbit can be expensive.

This slays me. You can just walk up to a rocket company and give them some money, and they will carry your stuff into orbit. Like FedExing a package. Incredible.

So why would you contribute, apart from the coolness factor?

As if being a part of putting a TARDIS in orbit were not cool enough, we’re giving away some pretty nifty rewards, too. See, there will be SSD memory cards inside the TARDIS satellite. And on those cards will be all the information about our backers. That’s right. There will be a TARDIS orbiting the Earth, and inside will be your name, your personal message, and even your photos or videos… In space! How awesome is that?

There’s still a few more days to support this Kickstarter and get your name and maybe your Fourth Doctor/Omega slash fanfic on a hard drive on a TARDIS orbiting the Earth.

Also, you should watch their video, because the father-daughter team behind this is adorable:

Via The Escapist.

(If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)


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  • RogerBW

    I would be happier if they mentioned anywhere the expected lifespan of a satellite in LEO — anywhere from days to months, depending on just where it’s put. If one didn’t know this, one might get the impression from the Kickstarter page that this was going to be a long-term thing.

  • kco99

    They said in an interview that it is expected to be in low earth orbit about three years and then, because it is small, to vaporize on re-entry.

  • RogerBW

    Fair enough, then.

  • althea

    Oooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhh this is soooooooooooo coooooooool!

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