how to launch your own satel­lite

Australian T3 - - OPINION -

Want your own ter­ri­tory in the Earth’s or­bit? Cubesats are cheap-to-build mi­cro satel­lites made eas­ily from off-the-shelf com­po­nents.

Based on blue­prints pub­lished by Stan­ford Univer­sity and Cal­i­for­nia Polytech­nic, each has a stan­dard­ised launch sys­tem and can be sent to space for less than $10,000. There are now 100 or­bit­ing the planet, do­ing ev­ery­thing from test­ing propul­sion sys­tems to tak­ing moody snaps.

To launch one yourself, pick up a starter kit from Pump­kin­, which in­cludes a ba­sic frame, moth­er­board and es­sen­tial elec­tron­ics. You will need to add a power source – a bat­tery or so­lar pan­els can work – plus a ra­dio an­tenna so you can talk to it once it’s up, up and away.

Then all that’s left is to get it into space. For that, you’ll need to con­vince a com­pany or govern­ment space agency to let you pig­gy­back on a rocket. Eas­ier said than done, but no one ever said space ex­plo­ration was sim­ple.

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