Build a satellite of your own for less than $30K

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The competition heats up: An industry of new cubesat builders can now build satellites for anyone for any reason for very little money.

The miniaturisation of technology allows people to do more with less hardware, said Chad Anderson, the managing director of Space Angels Network, an investment house specialising in the space industry. That industry, he said, was worth $300bn (£200bn) last year. Constellations of smaller satellites, like those suggested as tracking devices for planes over oceans, are now a possibility. “The launch costs are coming down and people leveraging today’s technology are able to do more with less and launch less mass to orbit. The price point has come down to where start-ups and entrepreneurs can really make an impact on the scene for the first time,” he said.

When the first tiny satellite launch companies arrive, expect this industry to blossom at an astonishing rate.



  • David M. Cook

    So you’re saying I should be building boosters for small cubesats right about now? How much mass should I consider for each flight? I’ll cut you in, Robert, if I can advertise on your site!

  • Hey, I’m always looking for those who want to advertise on BtB. No need to cut me in, just pay the very very very reasonable ad rates!

  • I’d like to build my own miniature “Rods from God” satellite. However, instead of titanium telephone poles, the satellite would dispense GPS-guided ketchup packets, the kind you get at the drive-thru. Having the ability to make (physically-harmless) precision ketchup strikes on richly-deserving public buffoons (e.g., politicians, loudmouthed celebrities, TV news anchors) from orbit would do more for world peace than any Star Wars system could. Imagine what happens in North Korea when Kim Jong-Un’s annual outdoor ParadeFest (or whatever) is suddenly deluged by hundreds of thousands of packets of fast-food ketchup, most of which are targeted on His Nibs and the boys in the grandstand. Humiliation Level: Maximum. The NoKo regime would end the next day; it’s hard to take a dictator seriously when he’s been pelted from orbit with ketchup.

  • pzatchok

    I would like to see a shortwave repeater given the same technology to transfer transmissions from satellite to satellite and then to the ground like O3B does with the internet.

    In fact attach a short wave repeater to each small satellite.

    Worldwide short wave access from your cheap hand held transceiver.

    Cheaper and possibly better than a simple cell phone.

  • PeterF

    I’ve been telling people for years that skilled engineer could build satellites in their garage for less than it would cost to restore a 57 chevy! The launch costs are what prevents it because if your going to spend that kind of money to place a device in orbit, you damn well want to know its going to work perfectly

  • Three ham radio operators built a Pocketqube satellite for about $250 that was launched by Morehead State University in Kentucky. The satellite has been in LEO for over 500 days and is still operational. It sends telemetry about its health in the 70cm amateur radio band. The purpose of the mission was to prove off the shelf commercial parts could be used to build a viable space platform for students and possibly dedicated commercial applications. The entire project is open source and all the info can be accessed on a dropbox account linked through our website. Our satellite weighed about 210 grams and may be able to be launched from a souped up rail gun :)

  • PeterF

    “may be able to be launched from a souped up rail gun :)”

    A “space cannon”?


    better than the Paris cannon the Nazis built, upper atmosphere weather forecasting would be critical.

  • Could you post links to your website? I’d like to follow up on the success of this project.

  • Sure Bob, it’s:

    By the way, I always enjoy when you’re on John Bachelor’s show :)

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