Amateur Space News April 20, 2014

Today’s headlines include environmentalists using satellites, an all-girl rocket team, a crowdfunded satellite reaching orbit, and an Arizona space tourism company.

Have any amateur space news of your own? Let me know.

A National Public Radio report on environmentalists monitoring oil-spills in Louisiana mentioned SkyTruth’s use of satellite imagery to measure the extent of oil-spills. "We found that the spill was usually 10 times larger than had been reported,” SkyTruth spokesman David Manthos said.

The Youth Engineering Success program hosted 400 middle and high school girls from across Southern California at California Polytechnic University to learn about opportunities in math, science, and engineering. Members of Cal Poly’s rocket team demonstrated the rocket they designed for Nasa’s Student Launch Program. (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

The UT-San Diego wrote about an all-girl rocket team competing in the Team America Rocketry Challenge. The four girls beat other teams at San Marcos High School to advance to the finals. The grant that supports San Marcos’ rocket program doesn’t cover out-of-state trips so the rocket team is raising the $4500 they need to go to Virginia.

Southgate Amateur Radio News reports that the crowdfunded KickSat satellite successfully deployted into orbit. The project’s Kickstarter page says the satellite is in a 335 kilometer orbit and charging its batteries. Limited telemetry received by amateur radio operators around the world show that it’s working fine. KickSat will release the Sprite circuit board satellites on May 4 at 20:00 UTC.

Arizona’s East Valley Tribune wrote about Paragon Space Development Corporation’s plans to send space tourists into Near Space with large balloons. The company is working with Arizona legislators to pass legislation that would let tourists waive their liability rights. Without the waiver, the company can’t get the insurance they need. Similar waivers have been passed in New Mexico and other states to support space tourism.