Some cry that it is daft to make your own satellite (ignoring 40 years of AMSAT history). Others exclaim that, hey, whatever I am doing, they can do better. To the former, my building Project Calliope is proof that we're entering a new age of private space exploration.
To the latter, I say "yes, yes you can." And now, O'Reilly Media is launching a DIY Space series. I'll be writing four eBooks so you, too, can design and launch your own picosatellite, Tubesat, Cubesat, or whatever you wish to build.
1) DIY Satellite Platforms (Realtime eBook #1)
Building a space-ready general base picosatellite for any mission
Can any hobbyist build a satellite? Our DIY guide steps you through designing and building a base picosatellite platform tough enough to withstand launch and survive in orbit. If you have basic maker skills, you can build a space-ready solar-powered computer-controlled assembly suitable for attaching instruments and rocketing into space.
2) Surviving Orbit-- the DIY way (Realtime eBook #2)
Testing the limits your satellite can and must match
Just how harsh is the space environment into which you thrust your DIY satellite? We look at what conditions your satellite must endure, how to test your satellite, and what launch, ground and orbit support you will need. In addition, we provide tips on making your overall plan and schedule, including milestones that will help your satellite survive and thrive in space.
3) DIY Instruments for Amateur Space (Realtime eBook #3)
Inventing utility for your spacecraft once it achieves orbit
What can you measure and what are your limits when orbiting in space? Learn about what physical quantities you can measure and what types of sensors you can buy or build. We cover the 5 essential design limits as well: power, bandwidth, resolution, computing... and legal limitations. Explore what you can play with using your own personal satellite.
4) DIY Data Communications for Amateur Spacecraft (Realtime eBook #4)
Talking and Listening to your satellite
Radio spectrum for commanding and recording from our satellites is a shared resource with subtle hurdles. We walk the path originally paved by AMSATs to discuss the steps and licensing needed to set up and operate both a command uplink and a data download station and network. Find out how playing nicely with others maximizes your ability to get your data down.
None of this would have been possible without the support of Science 2.0 and, of course, you readers. Four books covering everything you'd need to outdo me-- which, I'll note, is quite do-able. Now, it's up to you.
Launching Project Calliope, sponsored by Science 2.0, in 2011
News every Tuesday at The Satellite Diaries, every Friday at the Daytime Astronomer
O'Reilly's DIY Space