Making a Satellite Tweet

This post is an introduction to a project I'm working on at the moment.  Officially its a work project but I'm finding it so fascinating its taking up quite a lot of my own time.

A while ago my boss asked me to look at making an object in the museum tweet.  Easy I thought we have loads of objects in the museum making one of them tweet will be easy.  Choosing the object to tweet was actually more difficult than I imagined. It needed to be something that could be fully autonomous,  either taking a data feed or generating the text of the tweets itself.  I looked at the some of the well known 'twittering objects' , I  went through a few ideas, talked to several people in the museum and outside but nothing was really clicking.

It wasn't until One sunday afternoon I was sat outside Stepney City Farm drinking coffee and trying to think of ideas.  My eyes looked up to the sky and thats when I came up with the idea of a tweeting satellite.  I knew we had Satellites on display in the Space gallery so  A quick search on the Science museum web site turned up Prospero  The first and only Satellite that Britain launched on a British Rocket.  The actual X3 Prospero is still in orbit, and we have the flight spare on display in gallery.

The project is progressing well.  I have the code written that can send a tweet, as of tonight i am able to obtain the position of X3 Prospero.  The next step will be to put the two together and create a tweet that will be both meaningful and interesting to people.

I'm planning a few blog posts on what I am doing.  These will cover:

The Historical story of the British space programme.

How to write the code to make a satellite tweet  and why  knowing how will help to keep you safe on the web, as with most of my technology posts this will finish with me banging my fist on the desk and calling for everyone to buy a raspberry pi or Arduino and take an interest in the understanding of the internet and web .

Finally the Science of  how satellites orbit  and how to find the position of just about any satellite orbiting the earth right now.


You can follow Prospero on Twitter @X3Prospero Its not saying much right now but you may find some of the test tweets interesting.

But thats it for now.  Here is a picture of the Flight Spare of X3 Prospero  on display in the Space Gallery of the Science Museum.


Flight Spare X3 Prospero
Flight Spare X3 Prospero
By User Geni Wikimedia Commons GFDL CC-BY_SA

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