CAT thruster Kickstarter campaign for cubesats to return

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Good news: the Kickstarter campaign for the CAT thruster is set to try again on 2 December, a few months after the last overly ambitious campaign that resulted in only a third of the $200,000 goal they had set. Time to get my pledging wallet out again.

For why this project is exciting, see this post. The group doing the campaign is actually already doing this research at the University of Michigan Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory, and has continued to do so since the last campaign as well. This time around they are setting a lower goal with more stretch goals, so hopefully at least a minimum of funding will be guaranteed.

My conversation on Kickstarter back in July for reference:

Mithridates (David MacLeod)

Jul 11, 2013

Hello - I am considering donating to the CAT kickstarter. One quick question : would a mission to orbit (or at least fly by) the asteroid 24 Themis (the one recently found to be covered in water ice) be possible with one of these CubeSats? I've never entertained the hope for a mission to 24 Themis until now.

Benjamin Longmier, Ph.D.

Jul 11, 2013

Hi David,
Orbits and fly bys of asteroids are some of the exciting missions we have planned for CAT enabled CubeSats. It would not be cost effective for large, expensive spacecraft to go to 24 Themis, so most of them go to high profile locations: typically Mars and the moon. With the low cost to make and launch a CubeSat, a huge variety of destinations will be viable, including 24 Themis! These sorts of mission will give us a more comprehensive picture of our solar system as a whole, not just the flashy destinations.

All the best,

JP Sheehan

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