KickSat: Send Tiny DIY Satellites Into Space

Ground Control to Major You: for a mere $300 you, too, can send a satellite into space. How? Well, a young man from Ithaca, New York (it’s gorges) is planning on sending a box of tiny, self-contained, solar-powered radio transmitters into space – about 300 in all – and watch them as they transmit from near orbit. Like a murder of tiny space crows, the Sprite satellites will peep out their location and – for $300, your initials – as they circle the planet.

From the project page:

Sprites are the size of a couple of postage stamps but have solar cells, a radio transceiver, and a microcontroller (tiny computer) with memory and sensors – many of the capabilities a bigger spacecraft would have, just scaled down. This first version can’t do much more than transmit its name and a few bits of data – think of it as a shrunken down Sputnik – but future versions could include any type of sensor that will fit, from thermometers to cameras.

Once the satellites are in orbit amateur radio operators will track them using the Genso project. These little guys only have basic functionality right now but the creator wants to add thermometers and other sensors in the next generation.

The Kickstarter project will fund at $30,000 and there’s still a way to go. However, it may be worth it if you want to fly your very own Sputnik.

Project Page