July 4, 2018 UpdateThe amount raised through Wefunder was a total of $169,397 from 200 investors. After paying various fees, we received a total of $164,315 that was wired in during the last week of May and the first week of June. We immediately put your investment to work by outfitting our laboratory and office space and getting it ready for our summer interns.
Below is a photo of the fifteen foot long electronics bench, with CEO Randy setting up a dual Xeon computer for use as a compute server and storage server. We’ll use the server for running mechanical finite element and thermal analysis, as well as electrical circuit simulation. We already had the server, so we didn’t have to spend any funds on it. In the background is co-founder Sean’s personal vehicle, which is a diesel utility truck. Barely visible behind our spacecraft model is our solder rework station, which we'll use to solder and de-solder tiny surface mount components on our circuit boards.
We knew in early May that the fundraising campaign was successful, and we immediately started the search for summer interns from top notch engineering schools. We had a number of great applicants, and we wish we could have had more than just two interns.
Shown below are the two interns we hired. Phil, on the right in the blue T-shirt, just finished his junior year in aerospace engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He started in mid-June, and has already contributed a lot to the mechanical re-design of our space telescope. We wanted to change the spacecraft structural design to make it quicker and easier to assemble and disassemble, and Phil made some finite element and thermal analyses that verified our new approach should work. He will continue working on the mechanical design with co-founder Sean over the next few months.
Intern Jack, on the left with the neatly trimmed beard, started work only two days ago. He just finished his junior year in Electrical Engineering at UC San Diego, and he is the president of SEDS, the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space organization. You can see a video of the test firing of their 3D printed rocket engine here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2ylImcGjDY. Jack will be working on our optical communications test bed, designing circuitry for the laser transmitter and optical receiver, running circuit simulations, and doing the schematic capture and printed circuit board (PCB) layout. Our goal for him is to be able to order the PCB by the end of July, and to start testing in August.
Shown below is CEO Randy at the electronics bench, using our “new” 1 gigahertz Tektronix oscilloscope that was purchased on Ebay. Our optical communication circuits will send and receive optical pulses that are 5 to 10 nanoseconds long, so it’s important to have a fast oscilloscope.
Here’s Phil taking measurements of our old spacecraft model. We are changing the old design because replacing an internal part or making an adjustment to the optics required taking almost the entire spacecraft apart. The new design is much more modular, and should take only a few minutes to access, remove, or insert internal sub-assemblies. We “splurged” and bought a 55 inch TV with 4K resolution to use as a computer monitor and virtual whiteboard -- it was only $250 at Walmart.
Here’s Phil again, at the bench that's used for 3D printing. The 3D printer is large enough to print all of the parts of our spacecraft model, including all of the panels.
Co-founder Sean has finished his initial optical design of the main telescope, and is sending it out for review by our optics partners. We will be very busy over the next few months designing, building, and testing our space telescope, and we’ll keep you informed of our progress and plans.
Randy Chung, CEO, SpaceFab.US
The funds from your investments were wired to us by Wefunder on Monday. The net amount was slightly over $156K.
We are now busy putting the funds to work. We have hired two interns for the summer who will be working on laser communications and mechanical engineering of our spacecraft. One intern is concentrating on mechanical and aerospace engineering at Cal State San Luis Obispo, where the cubesat standard was formulated. The second intern is concentrating on electrical engineering at UC San Diego, where there are student projects on 3D printed rocket engines, an autonomous rocket powered lander, and a mobile rocket engine test stand.
Rather than spending any funds on renting an office, we are converting home space into a an office and a development lab. The office will be big enough for our interns, and will include an enclosed space for high speed laser communications testing.
The development lab will have electronic benches for assembly, test, and rework of printed circuit boards with surface mount components. There will also be space for 3D printers, with one printer large enough to print the entire 12U spacecraft. And there will be enough space for a drill press, power saw, and other tools.
We told you in our last report that we were preparing a proposal for the DARPA Blackjack program. We did receive feedback on our proposal abstract, and we were advised not to bother with submitting a full proposal, as we were wide of the mark. We did find the effort useful, though, and we have decided to make our laser communications bi-directional, so it can be used for both receiving and transmitting data either to the ground or to another satellite. We have also decided to make our satellite structure more manufacturable, by making it easier to assemble and dis-assemble.
So we are now very busy preparing for our new interns, then we'll all be busy working on various parts of our spacecraft for the next two or three months.
Update from SpaceFab.US, March 8, 2018
We want to thank our investors, customers, and supporters of our Waypoint space telescope for combined astronomy and ground observation. We really appreciate your support!
We have reached 90% of our Wefunder crowdfund investment goal of $150K, with just two weeks left in the campaign. If you have already invested, we thank you, and ask if you could increase your investment. If everyone increased their investment by 10%, we will be able to successfully close the campaign. And if you haven’t invested in the SpaceFab campaign yet, please consider helping us build the first dual purpose space telescope that everyone can use, and own a piece of SpaceFab at the same time.
DARPA Blackjack Proposers Day
We will be traveling to Washington, DC for a meeting at the DARPA Conference Center in Arlington, VA on March 15. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has a new program called Blackjack, looking for companies to help build a low cost constellation of 60 to 200 satellites in LEO (low Earth orbit) with enough capability to replace a single “exquisite” satellite design, but costing much, much less.
These small satellites must be large enough to have room for advanced payloads, yet small enough to be low cost. They should also be derived from commercial satellites. When we saw what DARPA’s looking for, we realized that our Waypoint Space Telescope is a perfect candidate. It uses the latest technology and is designed to be a very low cost commercial satellite with superior capabilities. DARPA is encouraging companies to team up, so we will be making a quick presentation about the Waypoint satellite, and looking for partner companies to join us in proposing a customized satellite for the Blackjack program.
SpaceFab.US’ space selfie campaign is now open on Kickstarter!
You can buy them on Kickstarter for the next 60 days: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/99559663/spacefabs-space-selfies
There are more than a dozen different reward levels, from space selfies to joining us at the launch of our first Waypoint satellite! Check out the SpaceFab space selfie campaign on Kickstarter to get all the details.
If you have any questions, you can reach us at www.wefunder.com/spacefab, or at firstname.lastname@example.org , we’d love to hear from you.
Randy Chung, CEO and co-founder, SpaceFab.US
Sean League, Director of Spacecraft Dev
Above is a link to our successful Wefunder campaign.
Phase Four and Relativity space held a beer (Wavelength Brewery) and bratwurst event, offering tours of their facilities and views of their live xenon ion engine.
In this video, SpaceFab.US Co-founder Sean League explains the advantages of using lasers for sending data down to our ground stations on Earth.
Have you ever wanted to Invest in a space company?
Check us out at our just opened portal at Wefunder.com/spacefab
This is a Pre-IPO Offering.
What that means is you are getting the same chance to invest as if you were a venture capitalist at an early stage company. Be an early stage investor that would previously only have been available to venture capitalist or professional investor.
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Title III, Regulation CF is a new investment vehicle that is highly regulated by the SEC for normal, everyday people who aren't required to be an accredited, high net-worth investor. In other words, anyone can invest in this opportunity with a low minimum investment of just $1000.
Check out our investment page at Wefunder.com/spacefab
Hi, this is Randy Chung, CEO and co-founder of SpaceFab.US, and Sean League, Director of Spacecraft Engineering and also co-founder of SpaceFab.US.
A lot has been happening at SpaceFab, and we’d like to give an update to the general astronomy community, and to those of you who we met at SpaceComm in Houston last November, at the AAS conference in January earlier this year, at SPIE in San Francisco and Anaheim, at the Cubesat Workshop in San Luis Obispo, and to those of you who attended our presentations at Orange County Astronomers and Rose City Astronomers in Portland in July.
We’ve seen an extraordinary response to our presentations about SpaceFab’s commercial space telescope and asteroid mining and space manufacturing business plan.
We received great feedback on the initial design of our 12U cubesat telescope, which can be used both for astronomy and Earth observation. The 48 megapixel main camera is unchanged, the EMCCD/UV camera has been upgraded from 2 megapixels to 8 megapixels, and the third camera will be a 150 band hyperspectral camera instead of a Near-IR camera. The early satellite telescope design had four booms for the secondary mirror system, and has been changed to use three booms for lower cost.
The architectural design of the satellite is finished. We have identified all the sources and vendors for the major components, and we are currently working on the mechanical, optical, and electronic designs. We’ve decided on the SoC FPGA (System on Chip Field Programmable Gate Array), and how it will control the spacecraft, interface to the cameras, and process the images.
We now have an agreement with a major U.S. university to place our optical ground station at their observatory site. Our ground station will have a robotically controlled Planewave telescope, and the university will be able to use it except when our satellites are making a ten minute pass every 24 hours. We are looking for a second location, so if you are aware of any space available at an observatory site, please let us know at email@example.com .
We have identified the filters that will be on the satellite, and are listed below. In addition to the filters, a polarizer or a 2X focal reducer can be inserted.
Waypoint Satellite Filter Types
A simulated picture of the M51a (NGC 5194) and M51b (NGC 5195) galaxies are shown below. Each pixel is .6 arc seconds in size, which corresponds to the telescope’s target resolution.
The next development steps are to start writing satellite software, continue working on the mechanical and optical design, designing our high precision star trackers, and design the optical communication transmitter and optical ground receiver.
As you may know, we have a partner who has offered us two launch slots on his Falcon 9 when his communications satellite is launched. We still intend to launch our first Waypoint space telescope in 2019. Our space telescope satellite has the most features, the most utility, and the lowest cost compared to other satellites of similar size. We believe this project will more than break even, and any profits will be used to help fund our efforts in asteroid mining and exponential space manufacturing.
Our Wefunder Investment Portal
Many of you have expressed interest in investing in SpaceFab.US, and supporting our space venture in building space telescopes, asteroid mining, and exponential space manufacturing. We want to allow the public to invest in our space company. We have been working with Wefunder for almost a year to set up a crowdfund investment campaign and we are close to opening the campaign, but we need to show that there is investment interest from people like you.
If you are interested in getting investment information, you can sign up as a potential investor at https://Wefunder.com/signup . You are under no obligation to invest, signing up allows you get investor information not available to the general public. You don’t have to be an accredited investor, and the investment is even open to non-US citizens.
If you don’t see any fundraising campaign information about SpaceFab after you’ve signed up, it would help us get the campaign released if you sent Wefunder an email to firstname.lastname@example.org telling them that you want to see the investment information about SpaceFab.
You can read more about us, including our asteroid mining and space manufacturing plans, at our website: www.spacefab.us
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