Doctor Who Fans Kickstart a Real TARDIS Satellite

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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Doctor Who Fans Kickstart a Real TARDIS Satellite

A father-daughter duo is putting a functioning, photo-taking TARDIS into orbit to mark the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.

I know just enough about Doctor Who to say "time and relative dimensions in space" (while covering the moon with a dime, of course) with sufficient authority to impress small children who don't have the nerve to call me on it. That puts me several leagues below the 3 Stags team, "a production company specializing in small and micro-budget projects for film, television, and the interweb machine," that's wrapping up a very successful Kickstarter to put a TARDIS into orbit.

This particular TARDIS isn't full-scale - it's relatively tiny, in fact, standing just one foot tall because of payload limitations on the rocket that will put it in orbit. But it does have a functioning blue light on top and a GoPro Hero 3 camera that will snap photos of our planet, both running on batteries recharged by solar cells in the windows, and it will be in actual, low-Earth orbit, sharing space with "real" satellites and the International Space Station.

The satellite has already been built out of very lightweight aluminum with a "passive attitude control system," which as the Kickstarter video explains means it uses magnets to maintain its position in orbit. The Kickstarter campaign is to cover the cost of launching it into space on a commercial rocket, which for a satellite of this size and weight runs $33,000. It's actually kind of amazing to think that a privately-built satellite can be put into orbit for less than the cost of a reasonably well-equipped American car these days, but it's still a big pile of money.

Fortunately for those who want to see this happen, the power of fandom has come through, and with four days still on the clock the Kickstarter is approaching double its goal. Among the rewards given to backers is an allocation of space on an SSD that will carry your name and any message you care to include into space, where it will remain until the end of time. (Or at least until something bad happens to the satellite.) If the stretch goal of $66,000 is hit - doubling the original goal - drive space allocations will be increased.

I'm no die-hard Doctor Who fan but I think this is a smashing idea, and I really hope it succeeds. If you want to get in on the action, score a groovy t-shirt or maybe put a picture of your cat into orbit, the "We're putting a TARDIS into orbit" Kickstarter runs until June 29.

Source: Kickstarter [http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/573935592/were-putting-a-tardis-into-orbit-really]


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Quaxar

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Sep 21, 2009
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Quick, we need a second kickstarter to launch a complete set of all 11 Doctor action figures into the same orbit!

Andy Chalk said:
I know just enough about Doctor Who to say "time and relative dimensions in space" (while covering the moon with a dime, of course) with sufficient authority to impress small children who don't have the nerve to call me on it.
They said there were no consequences of Susan Arendt leaving the Escapist. Now they have been proven wrong. She'd never have allowed this little Doctor Who knowledge!
 

Stabinbac

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Nov 25, 2010
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Have they put any thought into the environmental impact launching these useless kinds of things, and the fact that they're putting more garbage in the way of actually useful space objects?

What use is this thing? It'll send GoPro images back? Woo! Talk about high quality.

A better idea would have been something like a tardis paint job on an actually useful satellite.
 

Nightvalien

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Oct 18, 2010
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Stabinbac said:
Have they put any thought into the environmental impact launching these useless kinds of things, and the fact that they're putting more garbage in the way of actually useful space objects?

What use is this thing? It'll send GoPro images back? Woo! Talk about high quality.

A better idea would have been something like a tardis paint job on an actually useful satellite.
This man speaks true, do as he says, that is a much better idea I myself will be buying a doctor themed wallet to celebrate the 50th year.
 

GodzillaGuy92

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Jul 10, 2012
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Stabinbac said:
Have they put any thought into the environmental impact launching these useless kinds of things, and the fact that they're putting more garbage in the way of actually useful space objects?
I know, right? It's not like outer space is effectively infinite or anything. Screw organized artistic appreciation and whatever other feats might bring some joy to our bleak and fleeting existence, we need to make sure the universe is .000000000000000000000000001% less crowded!
 

Stabinbac

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GodzillaGuy92 said:
I know, right? It's not like outer space is effectively infinite or anything.
Your comprehension of the situation seems to be lacking, and I gave an alternative idea for "organized artistic appreciation".

Thanks for the useless sarcasm.
 

sirjeffofshort

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Oct 2, 2012
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Stabinbac said:
Have they put any thought into the environmental impact launching these useless kinds of things, and the fact that they're putting more garbage in the way of actually useful space objects?

What use is this thing? It'll send GoPro images back? Woo! Talk about high quality.

A better idea would have been something like a tardis paint job on an actually useful satellite.
I was actually thinking the same thing. I know conventional wisdom says that space is infinite so it couldn't possibly be a huge deal, but the truth of the matter is that space trash is becoming a huge problem. I'm admittedly not well versed enough to argue the point, but to my understanding there is actually only a finite amount of 'usable' space that orbits our planet within the region that satellites have to inhabit. The problem comes from the fact that we've been launching satellites for a long time now and have a tendency to just kinda leave them there when they go dark, which in recent years has resulted in a good few collisions that have even knocked out useful communications satellites and the like.

Don't get me wrong, the idea is cool as hell, but in the grand scheme of things it just feels a little frivolous.
 

GodzillaGuy92

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Stabinbac said:
Your comprehension of the situation seems to be lacking, and I gave an alternative idea for "organized artistic appreciation".

Thanks for the useless sarcasm.
My point has apparently escaped you. It's not that the buildup of pollution in Earth's orbit is an identical situation to the comparatively impossible prospect of polluting the universe, nor that the issue isn't a potential concern. It's that the judgment of this project as "useless" or "garbage" is a shortsighted reduction of the whole concept of utility. The celebration of similar special occasions like the Fourth of July and Christmas with fireworks and Christmas trees, respectively, are planet-damaging wastes if one chooses to view them in such terms, but I can and will contest anyone who does so as they shrug off the very real worth of bringing some light to the world. Compared to that, the complaint of the presence of less than a cubic foot of metal floating through space is neither appropriate nor, even with the "alternative idea," appreciably constructive.
 

Stabinbac

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Nov 25, 2010
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GodzillaGuy92 said:
the complaint of the presence of less than a cubic foot of metal floating through space
The problem is that it's not just "through space". It's in the same range as billion dollars of critical infrastructure.

It's like releasing a mine in the middle of the ocean. It's not likely to hit something, but not something you should do because you feel like it.

Even launching it out of orbit into the vastness of space would be a better idea than into orbit. Something where "bringing some light to the world" is a little farther from a game of russian roulette. I'm all for people blowing money on happiness, but Earth's orbit isn't a great place for it.
 

GodzillaGuy92

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Jul 10, 2012
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Devoneaux said:
Your point didn't escape anyone, it's just not a very good one.
And yet you've apparently still missed it. So, in a nutshell: The harm in this endeavor is both tiny and totally worth it, and the worthwhile aspect is diminished when people choose to rain on the parade of those who simply wish to enjoy the show. I assume you'll have a different point of view and don't wish to convert the whole thread into an argument, so I'll leave it at that.
 

GodzillaGuy92

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Jul 10, 2012
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Devoneaux said:
Stop pretending like you're the bigger person when you're not. I saw your point but didn't agree with it, I was pretty sure that much was obvious. Don't treat me like a moron who can't understand basic English while at the same time sticking your nose up and proudly announcing that you're leaving so as not to start an argument.
My first instinct was simply not to respond, but I will say this (and you have every right to not believe me and/or think I'm still just trying to make myself look better, which is fine): I sincerely was not trying to insult your intelligence, and I'm genuinely sorry if I did.
 

Daaaah Whoosh

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Jun 23, 2010
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That video was amazing. I instantly love those people.

I have to say, though, I am sad that the TARDIS is not full size. I would have liked it to have a functioning door (not locked, since no one has a TARDIS key) and telephone (unlike the real one, but I'll get to that). Then maybe if there is some catastrophe in space, a lucky astronaut will find the TARDIS and be able to call for help. Also, it would be full of fish custard and jelly babies.
 

TimeLord

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This is pretty awesome. Might go and contribute to it right now!

Andy Chalk said:
I know just enough about Doctor Who to say "time and relative dimensions in space"
The Who-nerd in me needs to point out that dimension is singular for the TARDIS accronym (Time And Reletive Dimension In Space)
 

mechalynx

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Mar 23, 2008
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As someone who bothered reading all of the Kickstarter pledge, I can tell you that it's not just a shoddy camera giong up in space. The TARDIS will be sharing internal space with several univercities, who'll shovel stuff inside of it for their own research.

I'm gonna think about this. In the "My real name or my gamer tag?" - kinda way.