In the 1969 I sat glued to the TV set and watched Neil Armstrong become the first man to set foot on the moon. The rocket required to reach the moon was huge, and expensive (Saturn V). This achievement had been set in motion by Russia's launching of Sputnik. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine we would reach the day where I could afford to launch my own personal satellite. However, today is that day!
For $8,239 any person can now launch their own satellite ... solar arrays, transmitter, and price of launch ARE included. You can even pay by PayPal for your very own TubeSat. Here is a brief description from the official InterObital Systems web page:
A TubeSat is designed to function as a Basic Satellite Bus or as a simple stand-alone satellite. Each TubeSat kit includes the satellite's structural components, printed circuit board (PCB) Gerber Files, electronic components, solar cells, batteries, transceiver, antennas, microcomputer, and the required programming tools. With these components alone, the builder can construct a satellite that puts out enough power to be picked up on the ground by a hand-held amateur radio receiver.
Now that's cool! I personally think that college engineering departments should start a new competition based upon TubeSat. We need to get our your technologists excited again about space exploration. After all, if you had $8,000 available, what kind of satellite would you build? I'm still trying to come up with my idea!
In closing, here are two images ... the Saturn V Moon Rocket, and the TubeSat Personal Satellite. Click upon any image to view full sized.