STARSHINE (Student Tracked Atmospheric Research Satellite for Heuristic International Networking Equipment) was an educational microsatellite, built and launched to encourage optical tracking and satellite observation by students. STARSHINE was a passive, polished 48-cm-diameter hollow aluminum sphere, manufactured by the United States Naval Academy and covered by 878 25-mm-diameter mirrors that were ground at many participating American and international schools. Deployed from a hitchhiker slot on the Shuttle, STARSHINE was visible from the ground with the naked eye, flashing every few seconds due to its spin. It decayed on 18 February 2000.


Shuttle deployment date Jun 5, 1999
mission STS-96
mass 38 kg
orbit (circular) 360 km × 52°