A satellite for everyone

The time has come when anyone can run their own space experiments. We truly live in wondrous times.

After having watched my kids learn to program Arduinos the other day I’ve been paying keen attention to all things Arduino and was fascinated to come across a Kistarter project for an Arduino based satellite that will allow anyone to run experiments, take photos or even play satellite games.

ArduSat is a miniature cubic satellite, measuring 10 cm along each edge and weighing about 1 kg. Onboard it will have a suite of 25+ sensors, including three cameras, a Geiger counter, spectrometer, magnetometer and more… The sensors are connected to a bank of user-programmable Arduino processors, which run your application or experiment, gathering data from the space environment.

You’ll be able to write Arduino programs to control the satellite’s sensors, move the cameras around to take your own photographs, and much more. The possibilities are very open-ended and exciting. Just the idea of being able to sign up for a few hundred dollars and be able to do things that only a few years ago required the resources of an entire nation is quite mind-boggling.

The Kickstarter campaign is already fully funded but it’s still possible to sign up at a variety of levels. For example for US$325 you can book three days of satellite time to run your experiments (or indulge your spaceman fantasies). That, I have to admit is a bit rich for me as I have no idea what I’d do with it, but for a school or university or even an amateur astronomer it’s not exactly a fortune.

For full details take a look at ArduSat – Your Arduino Experiment in Space.

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