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04-24-2012, 02:13 AM #1
Launch your own satellite for US$8000
Interorbital Systems (IOS), a rocket and spacecraft construction company founded in 1996, is ready to fulfill its 2009 goal of making access to space available to all. Well, at least to anyone who can afford a motorcycle. For US$8K, IOS provides the TubeSat Personal Satellite (PS) Kit, complete with launch to low Earth orbit (LEO).
In the last decade, interest in picosatellites, or satellites weighing less than about a kilogram, has been increasing rapidly. A TubeSat is a (very) low-cost alternative to the CubeSat, which is currently the leading picosatellite standard. Nearly 100 CubeSats have been built and launched. (Not all launches were successful.)
A CubeSat is essentially that - a nearly cube shaped satellite measuring 10x10x10 cm (3.9x3.9x3.9 in), although they are scalable along one axis - with a total mass of less than 1.33 kg (2.9 lb). The basic structure of a CubeSat is about 0.4 kg (0.9 lb), so a 0.9 kg (2 lb) payload can be accommodated. CubeSats have been proposed for everything from simple radio transponders to interplanetary missions. Despite their popularity, CubeSats are not inexpensive - by the time you have assembled a CubeSat and had it placed in orbit, your cost will be well north of US$100K, a fortune compared to IOS's cost of US$8000....being a human...