Starshine 3 Satellite

9/26/2001 - 33-01r
Contact: Public Affairs Office, (202) 767-2541

Note: Starshine lifted off from the Kodiak Launch Complex, Alaska, at 6:40 P.M. Alaska Daylight Time, September 29, 2001 (02:40 GMT onSeptember 30, 2001).

Starshine-3 Satellite

The Starshine-3 satellite wasbuilt with the help of hundreds of grade school students from around the world, Starshine will blast off into a 300-mile-high orbit aboard an Athena I solid-fuel rocket from the Kodiak Alaska Launch Complex .

Starshine-3 was designed and built by NRL's Spacecraft Engineering Department. The one-meter diameter sphere carries a battery, a transmitter/receiver, solar cells, two antennas, and is covered with more than 1,500 mirrors. These mirrors were hand-polished by students around the world using diamond paste and sandpaper. After a protective coating was applied to each, the mirrors were sent to the NRL for installation on the satellite. Starshine-3 will also flight demonstrate a battery that is integrated onto a solar cell and a new, innovative lightweight satellite ejection system.

Once this satellite is launched, students will be able to follow it as it passes overhead by observing the sunlight flashing off all those mirrors. Precise timing of their observations will be used to measure the orbital decay of the satellite, and the density of the upper atmosphere can therefore be deduced.

NRL designed and manufactured the Starshine I satellite structure in 1998 for its mid-1999 launch and worked this past spring on the installation of student-polished mirrors for the Starshine 2 satellite, which is expected to launch in early December 2001. More information about all of the Starshine programs can be found at

The appearance of an external hyperlink does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense.The Federal Government takes no responsibility for and exercises no control over non-governmental sites, the view that may be represented, or the accuracy, privacy policies, copyright or trademark compliance, or the legality of any materialcontained on those sites.

Get NRL News: RSS

About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory provides the advanced scientific capabilities required to bolster our country's position of global naval leadership. The Laboratory, with a total complement of approximately 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to advance research further than you can imagine. For more information, visit the NRL website or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Comment policy: We hope to receive submissions from all viewpoints, but we ask that all participants agree to the Department of Defense Social Media User Agreement. All comments are reviewed before being posted.