SpaceFab: A Space Telescope for Everyone
Purpose: To discuss the origins and implications of this revolutionary idea to more closely connect the world as a whole to the universe.
Sean League: From creating a particle accelerator in his kitchen to a space telescope for all, Sean League has involved himself in many sectors of the space industry. With his degree in astrophysics, he has worked as a fiber optics engineer, designed anti-missile laser systems, started several companies, and is now co-founder and spacecraft engineering director for SpaceFab.
This Episode You’ll Learn:
- SpaceFab and its revolutionary future
- Specs of the space telescope
- How this helps you
- The wild vision of Sean League
“It not only saves money but it’s good for the environment too.”
“You can send any picture you want up there and your backdrop is the entire planet Earth”
“We can 3D laser print for you in space.”
2:10 – What is SpaceFab?
10:58 – The Nitty Gritty: Telescope Specs
Sean League and hosts get technical with the telescope currently in development.
The space telescope is a standard 12U cubesat. This is a fairly new standard with a container able to attach to any rocket, allowing for ease of transportation and reduction of costs for both manufacturer and user. Main details include an aperture of 220 mm (8-9in) for a modified Dall-Kirkham design, a filter wheel 12 filter slots (some slots holding multiple filters), and 3 different imagers onboard.
Main Imager: 48 megapixels for detailed space and Earth imaging
Secondary Imager: 8-megapixel EM-CCD which multiplies incoming light by 20x and able to capture UV down to 200 nanometers. This competes with Hubble like no other telescope.
Hyper-spectrum Imager: This will scan the Earth atmosphere or ground and analyze the content. Can be used to analyze minerals in the ground for farming or mining purposes, where farm fields could use targeted watering, nutrients, or bug solutions, and can measure for atmospheric changes around the globe.
Focal Length: 1600 mm (63 inches)
Reaction Wheels and Gyros: 8 Reaction Wheels and 3 Torquers
4 Large Reaction Wheels for spanning across the sky
4 Small Reaction Wheels for stabilization and minor adjustments
Torquers to calibrate for the pull of Earth’s gravity
Telescope weighs 18kg.
20:02 – Space Telescope for All
The business model for use will be first come, first served. The actual service packages are discussed further in this segment. Amateur users will have the option to simply point and shoot, while those wanting more specific images can customize specs to their liking. All of this can be done from an app on your smartphone!
34:52 – Space Selfies
SpaceFab is bringing the selfie to space! You can have a live image of the Earth as the backdrop to your selfie.
48:32 – 3D Printing in Space
The future goals of SpaceFab will enable asteroid mining and 3D printing in space, prompting a new age in space construction and exploration.
Like what you've listened to? Hate what you've heard? Let us know in the comments below!
For more on imaging practices and setups check out this podcast with the legendary Tim Puckett of SBIG. He lets us in on his incredible life journey and what he's doing now.
Still a beginner and looking to get started in astrophotography? Already got your setup and looking for some more insight on the practice? Check out the general introduction and guide talk here!