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At MakerFaire NYC

Hi all,I'll be at the NYC MakerFaire this weekend (Sept 21-22), in case anyone wishes to join up...

Concepts For A CubeSat LARP

I am a firm believer that simulations improve reality.  If you want to launch a CubeSat, you...

Putting a TARDIS in Space?

I am used to odd looks when I say I'm flying a satellite to convert the ionosphere to music. ...

Who Can Launch a CubeSat?

In the half year since I wrote last September, the CubeSat field has greatly moved forward. ...

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Project CalliopeRSS Feed of this column.

Alex "Sandy" Antunes is the mastermind behind 'Project Calliope', a pico-satellite funded by Science 2.0 and being launched in 2011 by a mad scientist who is a space & music enthusiast. This... Read More »

What do you get when you mix Mad Men styling, IKEA how-to, and NASA high tech?  In an incredibly terse 1 minute and 28 seconds, with no sound needed, NASA asks "So, You Want to Build a Satellite?" and explains why rocket science is hard.  Seriously, this is the sort of video that you don't need sound, and it features no talking heads or chatty scientists.  It's an elegant, straightforward wake-up call about the intrinsic difficulties that space exploration brings.

The question 'what can you do with such a tiny satellite' has many answers.  This week we're looking at Calliope's faster, cooler cousin, the ion-drive testing platform called FRETS1.

An ion engine in a satellite the size of a soda can

Frets1 TubeSat
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
Must be a zeitgeist thing.  Our own Ground Station Calliope kickstarter fundraiser succeeded, to help fund our Science 2.0 Project Calliope.  Now the NY Times is reporting that other scientists have also been using kickstarter to fund science.  They cite missions in the $4-15K range, and give it the catchy term 'substitutional funding'.
Univ. of Illinois announced a silver pen for writing conductive cursive.  Researcher Jennifer Lewis notes “Pen-based printing allows one to construct electronic devices ‘on-the-fly,’".  I think, imagine just tracing a circuit schematic instead of having to wire and solder it.
The good news-- I am writing a four eBook series with O'Reilly (publishers of MAKE) on four Do-It-Yourself Space topics!  Woo hoo!

Now the advice portion.  I occasionally have a habit of taking a more difficult path.  Here is that difficult path.  For the easy path, I recommend just doing steps 9-11, skip to 14-15, then close with 20-22 (marked in bold).

1) Get an agent by responding to a call for authors on an IT encyclopedia.
2) Offer to write the encyclopedia.
3) Write 30 page proposal.
4) Agent submits proposal to publisher.
5) Publisher loves proposal.
6) Publisher decides to stop printing encyclopedias.
7) Publisher changes mind, gets back into encyclopedia business, then changes mind again.