I’ve struggled to find this link again, but this is an incredible DIY initiative definetly worth mentioning. The “TubeSat Personal Satellite (PS) Kit“.
The new IOS TubeSat PS Kit is the low-cost alternative to the CubeSat. It has three-quarters of the mass (0.75-kg or 1.65-lb) and volume of a CubeSat, but still offers plenty of room for most experiments or applications.Â And, best of all, the price of the TubeSat kit includes the price of a launch into Low-Earth-Orbit on an IOS NEPTUNE 45 (N45) launch vehicle. Since the TubeSats are placed into self-decaying orbits 310 kilometers (192 miles) above the Earth’s surface, they do not contribute to the long-term build-up of orbital debris. After operating for a few months (the exact length of time on orbit is dependent on solar activity), they will safely re-enter the atmosphere and burn-up. TubeSats are designed to be orbit-friendly.Â Launches are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2011.
32 TubeSats can be integrated into and launched by a single NEPTUNE 30 launch vehicle. Prior to launch, each TubeSatÂ is installed into one of the rocket’s 32 Satellite Ejection Cylinders.Â Once on-orbit, the satellites are released according to a pre-programmed timing sequence. The timing sequence is designed to prevent satellite clustering. Interorbital expects to launch a set of 32 TubeSats per month.
You need an operator license to be allowed 2-way communication.
Interorbital Systems (IOS), established in 1996 in Mojave, California, develops and manufactures low-cost, state-of-the-art orbital launch vehicles and satellites for private, commercial, governmental, academic, and military applications.