Podcasts & RSS Feeds
Most Active Stories
- Take it from this "Trustafarian," these judgy maps are meant to make us laugh
- Green goo growing in Lake Erie is not what you think it is
- The new right-to-farm requirements and backyard animals
- Lawmakers vote to allow wolf hunts in UP
- Workers in Minnesota see wage gains, while workers in Michigan see steady wage losses
Wed January 22, 2014
Giving DIY satellites a push in space
Technology has opened the doors in recent years for do-it-yourselfers to complete scientific projects without help from universities or government agencies. But space exploration is one field that has remained largely out of reach for amateur scientists who don’t have NASA-sized budgets.
One way space enthusiasts have found to get more involved in the last few years is by building little satellites themselves, called cubesats.
Basically just metal boxes about the size of a loaf of bread, cubesats are popular in the DIY space community because they can be built cheaply with off-the-shelf parts and can be stuffed with cameras and all sorts of other instruments depending on the builders’ interests.
They’re usually put together by groups of amateurs or classes who pay to have their cubesat catch a ride on bigger rocket missions and once they’re dropped off, they stay in orbit and transmit pictures or other data back down to Earth.
They want to take the plasma propulsion systems that power big spacecraft, like communication satellites, and shrink them down so that amateurs can send their cubesats into new orbits or even off into the solar system.
*Listen to the full story above
Environment & Science