Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Future of the CAT Thruster

With a heavy heart I inform you that the CAT thruster for cubesats had failed to reach its goal of 200.000 dollars on Kickstarter. Fortunately it was not a total loss! First of all, considering how small the project was--a university campaign with very limited media access--the nearly $68.000 they did manage to collect I think is remarkable. To me, it shows that people do care about space exploration, similarly to the Arkyd space telescope even though not quite on the same scale. Secondly, and most importantly, the unsuccessful campaign does not mean the end of the project! After the deadline, Benjamin Longmier (project and science lead) published the below open letter, discussing the various possibilities for the future:

Dear Team,

We didn't make it to our funding goal of $200k with kickstarter in this first university funding experiment, though it's been a fun ride. Our team at the University of Michigan has been making great progress on the CAT engine, even since we first launched the kickstarter campaign, and we attracted a lot of attention from a few government and commercial partners. Some of these groups intend to fund this research and we are looking into these options. We are also considering re-listing the kickstarter campaign with a few tweaks, a lower funding goal, and some revised rewards. Please stay tuned as we heard the CATs, and we will keep you posted on the CAT engine research progress as things unfold in our lab. We remain excited about creating the next generation engine for deploying CubeSats around the Earth and sending them off into deep space, and we are quite grateful for your continued interest and participation in this journey.

Best regards,

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