Around eleven this morning, an Antares rocket left the earth from a NASA’ s Wallops Flight Facility on the eastern shore of Virginia. In addition to carrying supplies for the International Space Station, it had on board something a little different—a crowd-funded, twittering nano satellite.
Like we told you yesterday, the CFTNS is the brainchild of San Franciscan Tim DeBenedictis and a team of engineers, coders, and dreamers who built solar panels, wrote software, and ran the kickstarter campaign. The launch had been delayed several times, including a scheduled take off yesterday morning. Tensions had been mounting, since the geometric window of the earth’s rotation and the space station’s orbit would soon be closing for a time. But the weather—and the solar flares—held today.
“I’ve been a space nut since I was 8,” said DeBenedictis just after the launch of the CFTNS. “I’ve seen a lot of launches on TV and a couple live. But this one felt a little tingly. This little cube we built ourselves is actually on a rocket and now in orbit.” The CFTNS will be delivered to the Space Station, and should be deployed into its own orbit in the spring, where it will beam tweets and take pictures of the earth.
“It must be like what it feels to watch your kid go off to college,” said DeBenedictis.
Check back for updates when the CFTNS is deployed.